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Full text of "Famous cavalry leaders : through the ages with the heroes of sabre, spur, and saddle; with faithful accounts of their forced marches, dashing raids, and glorious charges"

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FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 



FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES 

BY 
CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON 

Each one volume, large 12mo, Illustrated, 
$1.50 



FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 
FAMOUS INDIAN CHIEFS 
FAMOUS SCOUTS 
FAMOUS PRIVATEERSMEN 

A* 

L. C. PAGE & COMPANY 

53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 



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GENERAL PHILIP H. SHERIDAN 



FAMOUS CAVALRY 
LEADERS 



Through the a^es with the Heroes of sabre, 

spur, and saddle; with faithful accounts of 

their forced marches, dashing raids, and 

glorious charges 



By 
CHARLES H. L. JOHNSTON 



Illustrated 




BOSTON. L. C. PAGE & 
COMPANY. PUBLISHERS 



LJBLIC LIBRARY 



Copyright, igo8 
By L. C. Page & Company 

(INCORPORATBD) 

All rights reserved 



First Impression, July, 1908 
Second Impression, June, 1910 



COLONIAL PRESS 

EUctrot^ted and Printed by C. H. Simondt &• Co. 

Boston, U.S.A. 



G 
c\ao 



Dedicated to 
C()e -JSopg of Saint ilarfe's Scl)ool 

SOUTHBORO, MASSACHUSETTS 



Thanks are due the Librarian of Congress 

for numerous courtesies extended to the author 

during the compilation of this volume 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

So many inquiries have come to me regarding the 
truth of my statement to the effect that the Hon-hearted 
Marshal Ney was not shot, that I regret a foot-note 
was not added, giving the authority for my conclu- 
sion, at the time of the publication of the first edition 
of this work. The fact is fully proved in a volume 
entitled Historic Doubts as to the Execution 
OF Marshal Ney, by the Reverend James A. Weston, 
Rector of the Church of the Ascension, Hickory, 
N. C. ; Major 33d N. C. Regiment, Confederate 
States Army; Honorary Member of the North Caro- 
lina Historical Society, etc., etc. Published in 1895, 
by Thomas Whittaker, 2 and 3 Bible House, New 
York. 

This work is in most public libraries, but, I believe, 
is at present out of print. It gives convincing and 
accurate proof of the fallacy of the belief that Mar- 
shal Ney was killed by the soldiers of France. I have 
submitted it to several members of the Bar and also 
to a number of Judges, among whom I would mention 
Judge William Allen Hayes, of Elmwood Avenue, 



vi PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION 

Cambridge, Massachusetts, all of whom were of the 
opinion that the Reverend Mr. Weston had proved 
his case to their entire satisfaction. 

Charles H. L. Johnston. 

" Single Oak, " Woodley Lane Road, 
Washington, D. C, January 5th, 191 2. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Attila, the Scourge of God i 

Saladin: The Great Sultan of Egypt .... 17 

Genghis Khan: The Perfect Warrior • • • • 35 
Chevalier Bayard: The Warrior without Fear and 

without Reproach 53 

Count Pappenheim: The Troublesome .... 74 

GusTAvus Adolphus : The Lion of the North . . 91 

Prince Rupert: The Impetuous 122 

Old Father Ziethen: The Prussian War Horse . 143 
Frederick William Baron von Seydlitz: Hero of the 

Seven Years' War 171 

Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox 197 

Marshal Ney. the Bravest of the Brave . . . 220 
Joachim Murat: The Great Napoleonic Leader of 

Horse 248 

Jeb Stuart: Cavalier ........ 277 

Phil Sheridan: The Daredevil 313 

George Armstrong Custer: Indian Fighter . . 359 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGB 

General Philip H. Sheridan .... Frontispiece 

Attila, King of the Huns 2 

A Charge of Attila and His Huns 12 

Saladin, Sultan of Egypt 17 

Genghis Khan 35 

Chevalier Bayard 53 

Bayard Defending the Bridge of Garrillano . . 65 

Gottfried Heinrich, Count Pappenheim ... 74 

GusTAVus Adolphus 91 

Gustavus Adolphus before the Battle of Lutzen . 117 

Prince Rupert 122 

Prince Rupert at the Assault of Bristol . . . 139 

General Ziethen 143 

General Baron von Seydlitz 171 

Francis Marion 197 

General Marion and the British Officer . . .211 

Marshal Ney 220 

Marshal Ney in the Retreat from Moscow , . 238 

Joachim Murat 248 

MURAT AT THE BaTTLE OF WeRTINGEN .... 259 

Major - General J. E. B. Stuart 277 

The Last Charge of Sheridan's Cavalry at Appomat- 
tox 313 

General George A. Custer 359 

Death of General Custer 389 



FAMOUS CAVALRY 
LEADERS 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 
[a.d. 410—454] 

FOUR hundred odd years after the beginning of the 
Christian Era, a savage monarch terrorized all 
the nations of Europe and Asia. This was Attila, 
King of the Huns, — known to all those upon whom he 
waged barbarous and cruel warfare, as the Scourge of 
God. So feared was he, that when a boy disobeyed his 
parents, he was not punished in the usual manner. 
Pointing to the North with an outstretched arm, the 
mother or the father of the disobedient child would say, 
" If you are not good, Attila will come down from the 
North with all his horsemen, and Attila, the terrible one, 
will get you." This warning was usually sufficient to 
make the child behave, for Attila, the fierce ruler of 
Hunnish hordes, was dreaded far and wide among all 
those who loved a Ufe of peace and harmony. 

The father of this much feared chieftain was called 
Mundzuk, and of him the dim pages of history have given 
us little record. He could not have had a very pleasing 
1 



2 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

aspect, for the Huns were not a very handsome race of 
people. They had swarthy faces which they gashed with 
huge cuts in early childhood so as to prevent the hair from 
growing and to make them look more savage and ferocious. 
Their figures were squat, their eyes black, deep-set, and 
twinkling. By nature they were wild and blood-thirsty. 
From earliest years they were trained to ride on horseback 
and they became so perfect in this art that their bodies 
seemed to be moulded to the backs of their shaggy, little 
steeds. They lived, as much as possible, in the open air, 
and despised those who slept in houses. 

About the year 400 a. d. we hear that they resided in the 
country lying north of Italy and Greece, but they had not 
always been in this part of Europe. Originally they had 
lived in the northern portion of what is now the Chinese 
Empire, and, starting from this barren waste, had overrun 
a large amount of territory. They were proud of these 
captured possessions and boasted that their kingdom 
stretched to the Arctic Ocean in the North, and to the 
Pacific in the East. So powerful were they and so feared, 
that in the third century before the Christian Era, a wall 
of fifteen hundred miles in length was constructed upon 
the frontier of China in order to defend the people from 
their inroads. This stupendous work can be seen to-day, 
but it could never keep them from plundering expeditions 
among the unwarlike Chinese. They would make fre- 
quent cavalry raids upon their neighbours, and the squad- 
rons travelled with such swiftness that it was impossible 
to catch them after they had gained sufficient plunder. 
These forces frequently consisted of two or three hundred 
thousand men, armed with long lances, with bows, and 




ATTILA, KING OF THE HUNS 



; T-E i]EW Yorjv 
- ^3LIC LIBRARY 



I Tl. ' 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 3 

with arrows. The soldiers managed their horses with the 
greatest dexterity and were hardened to stand the most 
severe changes of the weather. They never allowed them- 
selves to be checked by torrents, precipices, rivers, or high 
mountains. 

Living in the temperate climate of the North and feeding 
mainly upon raw and uncooked food, their fierceness was 
similar to that of the wild beasts which often surrounded 
their camps on the great plains of Siberia. To their flying 
squadrons of cavalry they would often add a goodly number 
of spare horses which they would use either to redouble 
their speed, or to satisfy the cravings of hunger. On quick 
marches they would provide themselves with a quantity 
of small balls of rolled cheese. These could be dissolved 
in water, and even this scanty diet would support their 
warlike spirits for a great length of time. 

Gradually these wild Huns became more anxious for a 
better and richer country than the bare and rigorous ter- 
ritory which they occupied, so they determined to move 
with all their herds and families. The Chinese, too, had 
begun to give them more annoyance, and they had been 
frequently beaten back from the Mongolian border. 
Boldly they advanced into Eastern Europe, where they 
hoped to find more plentiful subsistence and a climate of 
greater mildness. It was a great emigration and it would 
have been impossible to move such a horde had it not been 
particularly easy because of the extreme coldness of the 
climate. As a result of this the broad and rapid rivers 
which flow into the Black and the Caspian seas, were 
frozen to the depth of three of four feet, and over these 
the advancing Huns safely transported their wagons, 



4 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

cattle, and families. They marched with great energy 
and soon had taken possession of a new kingdom. 

Their advance was, of course, fiercely combated by the 
people who were then inhabiting the land which they 
desired. Many bloody engagements took place, but all 
fell before the might of the greedy Barbarians. The Goths, 
— a people originally living in the country north of the 
Danube — were driven farther south into the confines of 
the Roman Empire, for the Romans then held sway over 
France, Germany, and what is now Turkey. The strength 
and cruelty of the Huns were felt, dreaded and much mag- 
nified by all who came in their victorious path, for suddenly 
the people saw their fields and villages consumed by flames, 
and their women and children slaughtered before their 
very eyes. Every one abhorred and detested the deformed 
Barbarians whose shrill voices, uncouth manners, and 
warlike conduct incited the greatest terror. 

Attila was similar in features to the rest of the Huns. 
His head was large, his complexion swarthy, his eyes were 
small and deep-set. His nose was flat and a few hairs were 
upon his face in place of a beard. He had broad shoulders, 
a short, square body of great strength, and short legs. 
Descended from a regal line of ancient Huns who had 
formerly waged war upon the Emperor of China, he 
showed, by his haughty step and domineering manner, 
that he fully realized the fact that he was superior to the 
rest of mankind. He had a custom of rolling his eyes 
fiercely and it gave him the greatest satisfaction to see the 
terror which this inspired. 

Accustomed from early youth to exercise upon horse- 
back, the King of the Huns was perfectly at home in the 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 5 

saddle and could throw the javelin and shoot with the long, 
Tartar bow, with splendid accuracy. Although surrounded 
with much barbaric splendour and handsomely dressed 
attendants, it was his custom to appear as often as possible 
in the simplest of raiment. In no way could he have been 
distinguished from his poorest followers save that his 
clothes were always clean, and of the newest texture. At 
the table he would eat from a wooden bowl when those 
about him dined from golden plates. Flesh was his only 
food. He never tasted bread and was usually most careful 
in eating and drinking. He insisted upon using a cup of 
ivy wood instead of the goblet of gold which one would ex- 
pect such a powerful monarch to use. 

Associated with Attila in the government was a brother, 
Eleda, and in the treaty concluded in the year of their 
joint accession, his name appears as co-administrator of 
affairs. But Attila could bear no interference with his 
sole direction of the kingdom, and soon his brother was 
forced to give up his position. He died, shortly afterwards ; 
but whether from natural causes, or whether from poison, 
the ancient historians who have left records of the Huns 
on yellow parchment, can give us no clue. It was not long 
after this event that a simple-minded herdsman, who was 
tending cattle on the plain near the royal residence, noticed 
blood flowing from the foot of one of the heifers in the 
herd. Following the track with much curiosity, he dis- 
covered the point of a sword sticking upward from the 
grass. He dug deep into the ground and unearthed an 
ancient and rusty weapon which he presented to Attila, 
asserting that it was that of Mars — the God of War, a 
deity whom the Huns worshipped in the figure of a sword 



6 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

• — and that it was a certain indication that he alone should 
rule. Attila — much pleased — accepted this favour of the 
Gods, and then made claim to the government of the entire 
earth ; asserting that his right was based on the will of The 
Most High. 

Certainly we know that he actually did rule over a vast 
amount of territory. By some of the ancient writers he is 
spoken of as the Emperor of Germany alone, but by others 
he is said to have control of an Empire stretching into the 
very heart of Asia. It is even asserted that he made an 
alliance with the Emperor of China against their common 
enemies, and thus became part governor of the Chinese 
nation. It is certain, at any rate, that he controlled a great 
number of people of different blood and nationahty. The 
chiefs, kings, and leaders of the numerous martial tribes 
who Uved in the lands which he possessed and who served 
under the standard of this fierce Barbarian, were sub- 
missively ranged as guards and domestic servants around 
the person of their sovereign when gathered together for 
peaceful ends, or to discuss war. Thus his court was not 
only a most picturesque collection of retainers, but it con- 
sisted of a great number of persons. In time of peace, all 
these dependents, with their troops, attended the royal 
camp where they received advice and counsel from their 
master. Should warfare be waged and should Attila wish 
to collect a military force, he could put into the field an 
army of from five to seven hundred thousand men. These, 
for the most part, were mounted on horses. 

At the beginning of Attila's reign, Theodosius, the 
younger, was Roman Emperor of the East. He v/as but 
twenty-five years of age and not a man of martial dis- 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 7 

position. Instead of perfecting himself in the art of war 
he interested himself in religious controversies and spent 
much time in illuminating sacred manuscripts with skill 
and industry. Thus he was powerless to stop the savage 
onrush of the Huns, and to protect the Roman province 
from fire and slaughter, when Attila determined to invade 
his country. In 441 a. d. the horsemen of the warlike 
Barbarians ravaged nearly the whole of Europe and drove 
the Roman legions before them, whenever they came in 
contact. 

Theodosius endeavoured to seek peace with this scourge 
of the Roman possessions, but, instead of treating him 
with kindness, the Hunnish retinue, with whom he par- 
leyed, dictated harsh and humiliating terms. They refused 
to dismount from their horses when discussing the over- 
tures of peace, for they wished to humiliate the pride of 
Rome. Theodosius had already paid a yearly tribute of 
seventy thousand dollars to x\ttila, but this was now raised 
to one hundred and forty thousand. The Huns insisted 
that there should be free markets at which they and the 
Romans should meet on equal terms, and that any tribe 
upon which Attila should choose to levy war should be ex- 
cluded from the alliance of Rome, if such an alliance already 
existed. The Roman Emperor weakly gave in to all these 
demands, and, in order to further satisfy the will of Attila, 
two children of the royal Hunnish blood (who had escaped 
to the Roman province and wished to remain there) were 
given up to him by the Roman officers and crucified on 
Roman territory, by express order of the barbaric chief- 
tain. 

But this was no check to the ferocious Attila. In a few 



8 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

years he had pushed south to Constantinople, behind the 
walls of which Theodosius and his unwarlike court took 
refuge. They were at his mercy, and soon the yearly trib- 
ute was doubled. Many hundred thousands in gold was 
also handed the Huns in settlement for past arrears. The 
timid Romans were powerless and were incapable of stem- 
ming the advance of this rapacious conqueror, who des- 
troyed more than seventy of their cities; defeated the 
army of the Roman Empire in three battles; laid waste 
the country between the Black Sea and the Adriatic; 
from the Danube to the boundaries of Greece; and re- 
duced the greater part of the inhabitants to abject slavery. 

In this dire extremity the Romans were nearly freed of 
this fierce invader by the act of one of the court servants. 
The Emperor Theodosius persuaded Attila's Gothic Am- 
bassador to attempt to poison his employer, and he en- 
deavored to do so. But the plan miscarried, as the assassin 
repented just as he was about to execute the deed. In 
consequence, Attila demanded a great sum of money from 
Theodosius, which this weakling was afraid to refuse him. 
The timid Emperor did not long survive this humiliation. 
His inglorious reign was soon brought to a termination by 
a severe injury to his spine when thown from his horse 
in the hunting field. 

Theodosius was succeeded by his sister Pulcheria, who 
gave her hand in marriage to Marcian : a Senator sixty 
years of age ; a good soldier ; and a man of great tact and 
obstinacy. The new Roman executive determined upon 
a different course towards the Huns than had been pur- 
sued by his predecessor. He prepared for resistance and 
for the first time since he had come in contact with the 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 9 

effete Romans, the Hunnish invader received a check to 
his aggressive demands. Attila had sent a retinue to the 
Roman court and with his usual effrontery had instructed 
his ambassador to say, " Attila, my lord and thy lord, 
commands thee, Marcian, to provide a palace for his im- 
mediate reception." But this demand was met with the 
reply that no longer could his Majesty at Rome be in- 
sulted with the mention of a tribute, that the Roman 
Emperor would reward the faithful friendship of the Allies 
with becoming liberality, but if .the Huns insisted upon 
their unjust demands for gold, they would be repelled by 
all the force of arms which the Empire could muster. 

Attila received this answer with insolent contempt. He 
affected to despise these Romans of the East who had so 
often been put to rout before his onslaught, and he de- 
clared, with much braggadocio, that he would suspend 
the easy defeat of Marcian's people until he had made a 
more important conquest. This was the subjection of 
Gaul, which lay to the West, and is now known as France. 
He had determmed to conquer it and even desired to 
ravage Italy itself, for the Huns were attracted to this 
sunny land by the great wealth of the cities and the fer- 
tility of the soil. The province which he was about to 
overrun was a Roman dependency. 

Although the brave Marcian, who was at Constanti- 
nople, was called Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, 
the real Emperor of the Romans wasValentinian, who lived 
in Rome. Before his attack upon Gaul, Attila made a 
formal demand for this ruler's sister, Honoria, stating that 
he would not advance upon the Roman pro\'ince if she were 
presented to him. A curt and dignified refusal was, of 



10 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

course, given to this outrageous request. So, in a. d. 451 
Attila gave orders for the vast horde of barbaric Huns to 
sweep down upon the hapless cities and towns of Gaul. 
From his royal village on the plains of Hungary and with 
seven hundred thousand marauders, mounted upon their 
shaggy ponies and followed by their wives and children in 
ox carts, he marched eight hundred miles to the conflux of 
the Rhine and the Necker. Here his force was joined 
by the Frankish army, which much increased its fighting 
strength. Making a bridge of boats, the mighty host 
swept, like a huge bird of prey, upon the Gallic provinces. 
Cities were razed to the ground. Citizens, priests, women, 
and infants were put to massacre. Fire and sword accom- 
plished an awful butchery. 

From the Rhine and the Moselle, this veritable Scourge 
of God advanced into the heart of Gaul, and, after a long 
and tedious march, the Hunnish invaders came before the 
walls of Orleans on the River Loire. But here the tide of 
advancing butchery was to be turned. Terrified at this 
atrocious march, the Visigoths and Romans united to stem 
the advance of the enemy. Aetius, with the Roman legions 
of Gaul, and Theodoric, with the Gothic host, joined two 
mighty armies below the Loire and speedily advanced to 
the relief of the beleaguered town. Attila feared to fight 
them where he was, and retreated before the courageous 
defenders of the province until he was behind the river 
Seine. 

It was in the early days of July that the two antagonistic 
forces, at length, came together. The van of the advancing 
Goths and Romans had seriously harassed the rear of the 
retreating Huns, and, angry at the turn which affairs had 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 11 

taken, Attila determined to give battle. Near the city of 
Chalons are vast, rolling plains called the Catalaunian 
fields, and here he drew up his Barbarians in battle array. 
The Romans and Goths had caught up with him, deter- 
mined to beat off this horrible adversary and revenge the 
inhabitants of Gaul who had suffered from his atrocious 
march. What a picture it must have been to see these 
great armies confronting one another ! Here were the 
horsemen of Attila, clad in mouse skins, knit together, and 
in hides of wolves and foxes. They were armed with lances 
and long, cruel swords, and seated firmly upon their half- 
tamed horses, eagerly awaited the conflict, while Attila, in 
the centre, with courageous voice and haughty gestures, 
urged on the attack. Aetius,with the Roman Legions, was 
on the left of the line opposed to the Huns, and Theodoric, 
king of the Visigoths, was upon the right. In the centre 
were the solid Roman phalanxes of veterans. The nations 
from the Atlantic to the Volga were opposed to each other 
in one great struggle for race supremacy. 

Before the battle began, Attila (as is the custom of Bar- 
barians) consulted the augurs about the outcome. He 
distrusted his own powers against such a strong adversary 
and secretly considered the expediency of flight. The 
priests of the augury first slaughtered some sheep, and, after 
a deliberate consultation and pondering over a number of 
the veins in some of the scraped bones, gave forth this de- 
cree, " 111 fortune to the Huns. They will be defeated, but 
the chief leader of the opposite side shall fall in the midst 
of victory, and so the triumph of his followers shall be 
turned to sorrow." 

This pleased Attila more than one would expect, for he 



12 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

supposed Aetius to be the chief leader of the enemy, and 
his death seemed to be well worth purchasing, even if his 
own army should be defeated. But he was naturally most 
anxious over the outcome, and, being a man of fore- 
thought in military matter, set the hour for fighting at 
about the ninth hour of the day (3 p. ii.)- So, if the tide 
of conflict turned too seriously against him, the fall of night 
would put an end to the enemy's attack. 

The battle began with fury, and soon the troops were 
struggling for the possession of some rising ground. Attila 
had du-ected his men to gain the top of this hillock, but, 
foreseeing the danger of their own formation, Thorismund, 
the son of the Gothic leader ; and Aetius, from an opposite 
side; fiercely struggled for its possession. 

The fight was short and bloody. Soon the allies had 
conquered, and, from the summit of the hill, easily threw 
into confusion the advancing Huns as they rushed forward 
to a renewed attack. Attila saw that his followers had been 
worsted in this skirmish, and thought that it was time for 
an address. In a short speech, he endeavoured to bolster 
up their courage, and, after paying a tribute to their great 
valour as soldiers, said that they were to go for^' ard with 
cheerfulness and attack the enemy, since, " they who 
struck the first blow, had the boldest hearts." He told his 
men to despise the jarring nationalities leagued against 
them. He ad\ised them to concentrate the attack on the 
Alani, in the centre of the opposing forces, and concluded 
with the stirring words, " O ye Huns, raise your hearts 
battle high and let your wonted fury swell your veins. 
Now put forth all your cunning. Now use all your arms. 
Let him who is wounded seek still for at least one enemy's 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 13 

death, let him who is unhurt revel in the slaughter of the 
foe. Him who is fated to conquer, no dart will touch, him 
who is doomed to die, fate will find in the midst of a sloth- 
ful peace. I shall be the first to hurl my weapon against 
the enemy, and, if anyone can linger inactive when Attila 
fights, he is a thing without a soul and ought to be buried 
out of hand." The hearts of his followers were so warmed 
by this fiery address that they gained renewed courage and 
rushed with a loud shout upon the successful enemy. 

The Huns penetrated the centre of the opposing line, 
and, beating the Alani to earth, concentrated their attack 
upon the Visigoths. It was a hand-to-hand fight of tre- 
mendous fierceness. Antiquify, with all its stories of 
bloody battles, has nothing to parallel this savage clash of 
arms at Chalons The waters of the streams which coursed 
peacefully over the plain ran red with blood. Valiantly 
the Visigoths rallied to the defence of their line, and King 
Theodoric, while galloping back and forth to command 
and cheer his men, was thrown from his horse and trampled 
to death under the feet of his own soldiers. This was the 
event of which the augurs had told, but it was not Aetius, 
the Roman, who had fallen, as Attila had expected, for that 
General was busily leading the attack upon the flank and 
rear of the Hunnish army. 

The tide of battle now began to turn. The Huns were 
forced from their advanced position, and Attila, himself, 
was nearly captured. He prudently fled behind the de- 
fences of his own camp, while Thorismund — son of the 
dead Theodoric — rushed forward with his valorous 
Visigoths, and bore so fiercely on the Hunnish line, that all 
were driven back to the ring of wagons which they had 



14 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

placed about their camp. The aUies were afraid to follow, 
and so the battle ended. Over one hundred thousand lay 
dead upon the plain. The once peaceful Catalaunian 
fields were covered with mutilated corpses. 

To the Huns the outlook was certainly not favourable, 
and capitulation stared them in the face. Fearing this, 
Attila collected the saddles and furniture of the cavalry in 
a great funeral pyre, determined, if his intrenchments 
should be forced, to set fire to the mass of wood and perish 
in the flames, rather than suft'er the humiliation of capture. 
But the \ictory was not pressed. Fearful, perhaps, that a 
complete rout of the barbaric host, meant Gothic dominion 
in the Roman pro\-ince of Gaul, Aetius did not wish to 
renew the assault. He left Attila alone and so the great 
Hunnish army slowly retreated from whence it had come, 
across a country stripped of everything of value; devas- 
tated of homes and crops — almost a wilderness — for 
Attila had boasted that the grass never grew where his 
horse's feet had trot. 

Although thwarted in his designs of conquering Gaul, 
Attila was now determined to enforce his claim to the hand 
of Honoria by invading Italy. He was angry with Val- 
entinian, as an additional demand for the Princess and her 
treasures had had no effect upon the Roman Emperor. So 
the Barbarian again set his invaders in motion and entered 
Italy from the North with an innumerable host. He met 
with slight resistance, as the Alani and Goths, who had 
rallied to the defence of Gaul, would not again join to give 
him battle. A great outpost of the Roman Empire — the 
populous city of Aquilea — was the first to fall before the 
wrath of the Hun. After a nine months' siege, it was re- 



ATTILA, THE SCOURGE OF GOD 15 

duced to ruins and its inhabitants were massacred. Many 
other beautiful cities in northern Italy were also destroyed, 
for Valentinian made little effort to defend this country. 
When, at last, Attila proposed to march against Rome 
itself, the timid Emperor and the Senate resolved that if 
they could not fight at least they could sue for peace. 

So an embassy was sent to the Hunnish camp in the en- 
deavour to dissuade the invaders from further conquest. 
Among the ambassadors was Pope Leo I, who, when intro- 
duced to Attila, seemed to have more influence with him 
than had any other Roman. He was listened to with favour- 
able, and even respectful, attention ; for not only must the 
Barbarian have been greatly impressed by the logic and 
majesty of the Roman ecclesiast, but he must have been 
also influenced by the softened spirit of his followers. 
As a matter of fact, the warlike passions of the Hunnish 
soldiers had been much relaxed by the indolence of the 
warm, Italian climate. These wild savages of the North, 
accustomed as they were to a diet of of raw flesh and milk, 
had indulged so deeply in wine and in cooked meat, that 
their valour was far less keen than before, and their bodies 
had become weakened by self-indulgence and disease. 
Attila realized this, and so determined to retreat to the 
North after he had secured as much money as he could 
from the frightened Romans. He demanded an immense 
ransom as the price of peace, and swore that he would 
return — more terrible than ever before — if the Princess 
Honoria were not delivered to him after a short time. This 
first demand was acceded to, but the second was refused 
with scorn. 

Attila retreated north, and, in spite of his apparent desire 



16 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

to marry Honoria, — determined to add a beautiful maid 
(Ildico by name) to the family of his innumerable wives. 
At his wooden palace beyond the Danube, the marriage 
was celebrated with barbaric pomp and magnificence. 
There was much feasting and drinking by all. Attila, him- 
self, departed from his usual habits of temperance, and 
only retired upon his wedding-night after he had drained 
many goblets of sparkling wine. Next morning he was 
found insensible upon his couch, for a blood vessel had 
ruptured in his mouth during a deep sleep, and the suffo- 
cation that had ensued had caused instantaneous death. 
His remains were immediately enclosed in three coffins, — 
of gold, of silver, and of iron. Rich treasures were thrown 
into his grave — when buried next day — and, as is the 
custom of barbarians, the captives who were forced to dig 
the trench were afterwards put to death. 

So died Attila, the first great leader of cavalry of whom 
the world has accurate knowledge. He was rightly named, 
* The Scourge of God," for no man ever waged more 
ruthless and indiscriminate slaughter upon defenceless 
people, than he. At his death Europe and all Asia were 
delivered from the terror of massacre and invasion, and the 
wild riders of the northern plains had lost the only leader 
who has ever led the race to European conquest. 

The Huns soon drifted back to the plains of Central Asia 
from which they had come, and from warriors and con- 
querors they returned to their nomadic lives as huntsmen 
and shepherds. Their glory was to pass into history. 




SALADIN, SULTAN OF EGYPT 



THE NEW YORK 
PLBLIC LIBRARY 



TILD^ 

c 



SALADIN: THE GREAT SULTAN OF EGYPT 

[a. D. II37 — II93] 

DURING the period of the Crusades — about the 
year of 1137 — there are two great characters 
which stand out far above the rest of the famous 
Frenchmen, EngUshmen, Arabs, Turks, and Egyptians, 
who battled for the possession of Jerusalem. One was 
Richard Coeur de Lion, or the lion hearted : King of 
England and leader of a mighty host which swept over 
the plains of Palestine and endeavoured to wrest the 
Holy City from the Mohammedans. The other was Sal- 
adin : Sultan of Egypt and one of the most skilled and able 
fighters, and leaders of cavalry, that the world has ever 
known. Among the Arabs there was an inborn spirit of 
chivalry, just as there was among the English. The chiv- 
alrous Christian Knights who invaded Asia and Palestine, 
at this time, found a similar Mohammedan chivalry. 
Saladin is admitted by all to have surpassed the King of 
England in the true virtue of chivalry — bravery, devotion 
to his religious beliefs, and generosity to the weak and to 
the fallen. 

The great Sultan of Egypt was born in a castle on the 

Tigris river in Syria where his father was governor of a 

province. He was not a particularly brilliant youth and 

was fond of wine and gaming, but he reformed his conduct 

17 



18 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

when he grew older and became a model of honesty, cour- 
age and patriotism. His name was Yussuf, or Joseph, to 
which his family added Salah-ed-Din, meaning Safety of 
the Faith. Later on he assumed the title of Malek-en- 
Nasir, meaning Victorious King. 

As a little boy the future leader of the Egyptian armies 
was taught to ride, shoot, and throw the javelin. He was 
taken upon hunting expeditions; was accustomed to the 
chase; to rapid riding; and was given a position in the 
army. Here he served under his father and under his 
uncle, whom he accompanied upon an expedition into 
Egypt against a certain Vizier who was at war with his own 
people. In this campaign the great city of Alexandria was 
captured and young Saladin was thought so highly of that 
he was left in charge of a garrison to defend the place 
against future attacks. This came very shortly from a 
party of Crusaders, but they had to withdraw after a long 
and weary siege. The youthful Saladin had won his first 
honours as a warrior. 

So worthy a person was he considered to be at this time 
that he was made Vizier, or Governor of Egypt, by the 
Egyptian monarch, Noor-ed-Decn, who claimed to hold 
possession of this fertile country. But Noor-ed-Deen was 
a harsh fellow who wished to make his general obey him 
explicitly, and, as Saladin had a high and imperious 
spirit, he refused to follow the orders of his sovereign. So 
strong was he, indeed, that this Monarch was afraid to 
enforce his obedience, and so Saladin governed in peace 
and quietude, until the death of Noor-ed-Deen. Then the 
ambitious Saladin assumed the sovereign power and de- 
clared himself ruler of all of Southern Syria. 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 19 

The Christians, of Europe, held possession of Palestine, 
at this time, with their capital at Jerusalem, the home of 
Christ, from whom their religion took its source. Baldwin, 
the Leper, was in command of the troops stationed there 
to hold the city against invasion, and it was not long before 
the aggressive movements of Saladin brought him into 
contact with the white soldiers from far distant Europe. 
The Mohammedans advanced against the city, confident 
that they could carry it by assault. But, in this they were 
sadly mistaken. Baldwin, the Leper, marched to meet the 
invading army and fought such a spirited battle with the 
followers of Saladin, that they were completely defeated. 
The great Cavalryman, himself, was nearly killed in the 
fray, and fled from the field upon the back of a dromedary, 
after his horse had been shot beneath him. His army was 
almost totally destroyed, which was a sore loss for the 
ambitious Mohammedan and made him vow vengeance 
against these white people of the North. 

Saladin retired to his own country, incensed against the 
foe, and determined to drive the Christians from Palestine 
so as to recover the city of Jerusalem. He was also angry 
at the manner in which a rough and warlike Frenchman, 
called Arnaud de Chatillon, had behaved on the borders of 
Arabia. This foreigner had attacked a caravan of pil- 
grims travelling to Mecca — the sacred town of those of 
the Mohammedan religion — and had massacred a large 
number of his friends and kinsmen, while making captives 
of those that remained alive. As there was an understand- 
ing between the Christians and Mohammedans that pil- 
grims should be allowed to go unmolested between their 
lines, this was a breach of the law, and such a severe one 



20 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

that Saladin vowed to have revenge upon the Christian 
host. So, at the head of a large body of both cavalry and 
infantry, the great Sultan advanced into the country held 
by those of the opposite faith. His clouds of horsemen 
swept over the fields like a flight of locusts. They carried 
all before them and, at last, met the army of the Christians 
upon the plain of Tiberias. A savage and stubborn fight 
occurred which lasted from dawn until dark, and, as the 
light of day began to fade away, victory perched upon the 
banner of the wild riders from the Syrian deserts. The 
Christian King of Jerusalem was a prisoner in the hands 
of the Mohammedans, as was dlso Arnaud de Chatillon, 
who had broken the truce, for a safe passage of pilgrims ; 
and against whom Saladin had sworn to be revenged. He 
was brought before the Sultan, placed with his neck upon 
a wooden block, and, with his own hand, the victorious 
General cut his head from his body. The plain about was 
covered with the dead, the banners, stained and bloody, 
lay trampled under foot, and the bodies of the slain were 
piled up like heaps of stones, as the great Sultan made good 
his furious oath. The desolation and wildness of the scene 
spread terror to the hearts of all the Christian host. 

Four days after this great victory Saladin captured a 
second Christian city; then he besieged and captured 
Ascalon. Finally he laid siege to Jerusalem, where many 
Christian families had taken refuge after they had been 
driven from their own homes by the ravages of the 
wild horsemen under Saladin. When the great Sultan 
reached the defences, he sent for the principal inhabitants 
and said to them, " I know as well as you that Jerusalem 
is the house of God and I will not assault the walls if I 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 21 

can get the city by peace and love. I will give you 30,000 
byzants of gold if you promise me Jerusalem, and you shall 
liave liberty to go where you will and do your tillage, to a 
distance of five miles from the city. Furthermore, I will 
have you supplied with a plenty of provisions. You may 
have a truce from now to Whitsuntide, and when this time 
comes, if you see that you have aid, then hold on. But if 
not, you shall give up the city and I will have you conveyed 
in safety to Christian territory; yourselves and all your 
property." 

But to this offer the envoys would not consent. 

" We will not yield up our city where died our God," 
they said, " and still less will we sell it to you." 

The siege therefore began and lasted for two weeks, 
when the inhabitants saw that it would be impossible to 
keep out the invaders. So they sent an old Knight to 
parley with Saladin, who said to the great Sultan, " Pray 
give us the terms which you first offered us, good Sultan, 
and which we first rejected, for we now wish to make use 
of them." 

The crafty Saladin laughed at this, and pointed to his 
own banner flying victoriously from several battlements. 
" It is now too late," he answered. " You surely see that 
the city is mine." 

" Alas, we do see it," replied the Knight, " but we will 
ourselves destroy our city rather than have it fall into your 
hands. And when it is nothing but a heap of ruins we will 
sally forth with sword and fire, and not one of us will go to 
Paradise without sending ten Mussulmen to hell." 

Saladin was much pleased with the reply, as he respected 
a brave enemy, and, as he did not wish to have the de- 



22 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

struction of Jerusalem connected with his name, he con- 
sented to the terms of capitulation demanded by the Chris- 
tian Knights. All Christians had to leave the city within 
four days, and the fighting men were allowed to go to Tyre, 
a city of some importance in the hands of the Christians. 

When the day for leaving came, all the gates of the city 
were closed except one — the gate of Daird. Through 
this the people sadly filed away while Saladin sat upon a 
high throne, and, with much apparent delight, saw the 
people pass before him. First came the old men ; then the 
clergy — much overcome with their grief ; and carrying 
the sacred vessels and ornaments of the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre. Then walked the Queen of Jerusalem 
who had remained in the city while her husband was a 
prisoner in the hands of the Mohammedans. Saladin 
spoke to her with much kindness and saluted her with 
respect, for he was too great a man to take pleasure in the 
humiliation of a noble personage. At last all of the Chris- 
tian host had gone by and the doors were closed. A great 
shout of triumph followed the retreating forms of those 
of the opposite faith. 

When the news of this disaster reached Europe, all 
were afflicted with feelings of shame, anger, and grief, for 
the capture of Jerusalem meant that the sepulchre of Jesus 
Christ had fallen again into the hands of the infidels, and 
the city which had been greatly improved by Christian 
labour, was now the seat of the Mohammedan government. 
The pride of the Christians was deeply wounded, for their 
vanity had been sadly smirched. Immediately the King 
of England, of France, and several princes of European 
monarchies took up the Cross and prepared expeditions 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 23 

to penetrate into the Holy Land and recapture the sacred 
city. Soon great armies were in motion and a tremendous 
struggle for the possession of Palestine went on between 
the great Saladin and the flower of European knighthood 
and chivalry. 

Saladin's unwavering passion was the expulsion of the 
Christians from the Holy Land and he believed in bending 
every effort for this end. " Behold these Christians ! " he 
said. " How they are crowding in ! How emulously they 
press on ! They are continually receiving fresh reinforce- 
ments more numerous than the waves of the sea and more 
bitter to us than brackish waters. Where one dies by land, 
a thousand come by sea. The crop is more abundant than 
the harvest ; the tree puts out more branches than the axe 
can lop off. It is true that great numbers have already 
perished, so that our swords are blunted; but we must 
gird up our loins and implore the help of the Lord." 

He was as keen in the defence and worship of his own 
religion as the Christians were in theirs, and when he heard 
that a certain French Knight had nearly succeeded in an 
attempt to pillage the tomb of Mahomet, he wrote to his 
brother, " The infidels have violated the home and the 
cradle of our religion, they have profaned our Sanctuary. 
Let us therefore purge our land from these men who dis- 
honour it, let us clear the very air which they breathe ! " 
The Sultan was also relentless to certain of his enemies 
whom he feared, such as the Hospitallers of St. John, and 
the Knights Templars. But, aside from this, he was gentle 
towards the weak and vanquished; just to his subjects; 
and capable of feeling admiration for those of his enemies 
in whom he saw superior qualities of courage, loyalty, and 



24 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

loftiness of mind. For this reason the Christians greatly 
admired him, although they cordially hated his very name. 
They approved of his deeds of bravery; his courage; 
honesty ; and patriotism. 

The city of Acre had been captured by the Saracens, 
shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, and against this the 
Christians first directed their attacks. Saladin, himself, 
was not in the ramparts when its siege was commenced by 
Philip, King of France, but he kept his horsemen around 
the flanks of the Christian army, and avoided his enemies 
as much as he was able. The King of France was received 
with supreme joy by the troops, when he arrived before the 
walls of Acre, " as if he were an angel come from heaven ; " 
and he vigorously pushed the siege. Many assaults were 
made upon the works. " The tumultuous waves of the 
French, rolled towards the walls of the city with the rapidity 
of a torrent; and the soldiers climbed the half-ruined 
battlements as wild goats climb precipitous rocks; 
while the Saracens threw themselves upon the besiegers 
like stones unloosed from the top of a mountain." In 
spite of the gallant defence of the Garrison, who fought 
like a mother wolf defending her cubs. Acre was finally 
surrendered and sixteen hundred prisoners fell into the 
hands of the Christians. 

Richard the Lion Hearted had joined the Christian host 
during the progress of the siege and discord soon arose 
between him and the King of France. It increased as the 
fight proceeded. Finally, when the French wished to make 
an assault. King Richard remained in his tent and would 
not allow his men to join in the affair. It is stated that 
Saladin sent grapes and pears to him from Damascus, be- 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 25 

cause of his high regard for his valour, and this did not 
please King Philip. It was rumoured that the Frenchman 
was jealous of the Lion Hearted, and that the latter, in 
turn, disliked the fact that he had to share the supreme 
command with another. At any rate. King Philip soon 
sailed away for France, and the struggle for Jerusalem was 
left to the hands of the English sovereign. 

Five weeks after the surrender of Acre, the new com- 
mander of the Crusaders found that Saladin was not ful- 
filling the conditions of the capitulation with the speed 
which, he thought, it required. Consequently he put live 
hundred Mohammedan prisoners to death. The effect of 
this massacre was a bad one, for to retaliate, Saladin put 
to the sword all the Christians whom he took in battle, or 
caught straggling from the lines, and ordered them to be 
left without burial. Seeing that he had made a grievous 
error, and, in the endeavour to patch up a peace with Sal- 
adin, Richard now offered to end the struggle by uniting 
his sister in marriage with the son of the Sultan. But 
nothing came of this, save that while negotiations were 
in progress, the Mohammedan made stronger the defences 
of Jerusalem. Besides, the Christian Bishops and Clergy 
uttered the fiercest threats against the King of England 
for daring to suggest such an ill-assorted match of persons 
of unlike religious beliefs. 

Richard was impatient to begin his march, so he left 
Acre and encamped in the neighbourhood, but his soldiers 
still loitered in the city. Finally the clergy had, by vigorous 
preaching, stirred up the spirit of the Crusaders to their 
former enthusiasm, and had painted the sad captivity of 
Jerusalem in such sombre colours, that the troops joined 



26 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

• 
the Lion Hearted Monarch and commenced the march 

towards Jerusalem. It was eighty miles to the Holy City. 

Saladin, who had been greatly reinforced with both horse 

and foot, harassed the march at every turn and camped in 

sight of the invaders, every night. Richard had divided 

his force into five divisions, while a great iron car was in the 

centre of the mass of men. This ran upon four wheels; 

was sheathed with iron plates ; and had a flag of the Holy 

War suspended from a high pole, nailed to the fore-part. 

Should the army retreat, this was the rallying point, and 

during an engagement, such of the wounded as could be 

carried, were brought round this great engine of war. 

Every night, when the army came to a halt, the heralds 

cried aloud, " Save the Holy Sepulchre," and, at this, 

every soldier in the Christian host bent his knee, raised his 

hands and eyes to heaven, and said, " Amen." When 

morning broke the troops would start out with the priests 

and monks chanting a psalm, or singing a hymn. 

The road was cut with ravines, gullies, and steep defiles. 

At every turn the Saracens disputed the advance and often 

ambuscaded small parties of men. Saladin's followers 

carried a sword, a dagger, or a javelin, and a bow with 

arrows. Most were well mounted upon fleet, Arabian 

horses and they hovered about the Crusaders like a swarm 

of gnats. Some were armed with a club in which were 

sharp, steel points that could penetrate a coat of mail like a 

bullet. They fought rather disconnectedly, but, in spite 

of this, inflicted great damage upon the advancing host. 

Their archers often hid themselves behind trees, or among 

high reeds, and did great execution among King Richard's 

men. They were like a cloud of summer flies, which Sala- 



SAI.ADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 27 

din constantly urged forward to renewed efforts and deeds 
of bravery. He, himself, was everywhere at once and 
exposed himself with such reckless daring that Richard 
had the greatest admiration for him. The great Sultan's 
spirit nerved his soldiers to exploits of the greatest heroism 
and courage. 

Thus the two armies sparred with each other, marching 
only three or four miles a day, until Azotus was reached. 
Here the Sultan had collected two hundred thousand men 
to oppose Richard's further advance; and, before the 
fight began, swarms of Arabs collected on the flanks of 
their foe. The battalions of the Crusaders were in such a 
solid mass that an apple thrown among them could not 
have reached the ground without touching either a man or 
a horse, for Richard had ordered his five divisions to come 
close together and to fight a purely defensive battle. With 
a wild and blood-curdling cheer, the Saracens charged the 
army of the Crusaders and were beaten off like waves from 
a rocky shore. King Richard's mass of iron-and-steel-clad 
men moved onward with the precision of a battle-ship. 
Again the Mohammedans charged with greater force, but 
again they were repulsed and thrown into confusion. At 
this moment King Richard raised his battle axe and the 
compact mass of Knights, priests and soldiers, broke into 
five parts and charged upon the light-armed followers of 
Sa'adin. A furious fight ensued, and, whenever his men 
showed signs of wavering, there would King Richard be 
to urge them on to renewed efforts. Many thousands were 
slain ; thirty-two Saracen chiefs were trampled underfoot, 
and, after being nearly captured himself, Saladin gave the 
order to retreat. His men had fought well, but, with their 



28 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

light weapons and lack of protecting armour, they were no 
match for the steel-clad Crusaders. 

After the battle, King Richard's army advanced to the 
City of Joppa and easily took possession of this fortified 
town. It was but thirty miles from Jerusalem, and, as 
the country was full of fugitives, the lion-hearted monarch 
was anxious to follow up his advantage, immediately. He 
would have done so, had his soldiers been as keen as he 
was himself to press the attack. But, as many of them 
were worn out by disease and by the intense heat, they 
refused to march further, saying that they must remain 
until the fortifications were restored. Meanwhile Saladin 
expected an immediate advance of the Christian army, and, 
in order to deprive the Christians of water, he drained all 
the cisterns within two miles of Jerusalem. " Let us die 
with our weapons in our hands," he said to his men. " And 
if you all have this resolution you will conquer the enemy. 
You have not merely undertaken the defence of these 
countries, but the Moslems of other countries depend upon 
your protection." 

Finally the Crusaders again began their advance upon 
Jerusalem, while their priests raised a chant of praise, 
saying, " O Lord ! Thanks be unto thee, for the time of the 
deliverance of the Holy City is now at hand ! " It was at 
the end of May when the march began, and by the first of 
June they encamped in sight of the walls of Jerusalem. 
But Richard received news from England that various 
plots had been formed against his dominions. He became 
anxious to return ; his soldiers too became dissatisfied with 
the campaign and began to quarrel among themselves. 
So a council was assembled, consisting of five Knights of 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 20 

the Temple, five of St. John, five Barons of France, and 
five Christian Lords who had possessions in Palestine. 
After several days of dehberation they decided to march 
south and besiege Cairo — a city from which Saladin drew 
his supplies — and not to attack Jerusalcn:;. 

But when this counter march was begun, the soldiers 
became unmanageable and several French and German 
detachments, deserted entirely. So King Richard fell back 
upon Acre while Saladin's followers pursued him in vast 
multitudes, pouring through the passes in the mountains 
of Judaea like raging torrents through a narrow gorge. 
There were tive thousand Christians in the town of Joppa, 
of which one-half were ill, and the rest thoroughly un- 
skilled in the use and management of military arms. 
Saladin, with twenty thousand horsemen and a great num- 
ber of foot, appeared before the walls of the town and sur- 
rounded it. Before long a part of the walls had been 
thrown down, great numbers of the defenders had been 
killed, and it seemed as if the city would surely be taken 
by the Mohammedans. 

At this moment King Richard appeared Vvith a host of 
Crusaders to aid the gallant garrison of the town. He 
came by sea, and when he sailed into the harbour and saw 
Saladin's standards on the walls, he thought that he had 
arrived too late to save the garrison. But a priest jumped 
down from the castle wall to the beach, and, being unhurt 
by his fall, ran into the sea. Swimming to one of the ships 
he informed Richard of the true state of affairs, and with- 
out more ado, the Crusaders rushed ashore to attack the 
victorious forces of Saladin. When the Mohammedans 
saw the banner of the King of England, they fled. The 



30 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Knights pursued them for three miles, until, overcome by 
the heat and the weight of their armour, they were forced 
to abandon the chase. 

Saladin had formed a body of three hundred Arabs as a 
sort of scouting force, whose business was to steal into the 
camp of the Crusaders during the night and to seize horses, 
equipment, or anything which they could safely carry away 
with them. These, the great Sultan directed to attempt 
to carry off the King as he camped outside of Joppa with a 
few men in about ten tents. So they advanced to a position 
near the sleeping monarch, one evening, fully prepared to 
carry off the English ruler. But before they could settle 
among themselves who should go on foot to s?ize the King 
and who should remain behind to cut off his retreat from 
the town, day came and a Genoese Crusader discovered 
the glitter of their helmets on the horizon. He rushed into 
King Richard's tent, crying, " O my King, we are dead 
men." " Thou diest by my hand if thou art not silent," 
replied the English Monarch, and scarcely had he put on 
his coat of mail, when the followers of Saladin, in seven 
corps of one thousand men each, were upon him. 

With seventeen Knights and a thousand other soldiers 
King Richard prepared to stem the attack. He made an 
animated speech to his followers, exhorting them to fight 
with valour, and stating, with a solemn oath, that he would 
strike off the head of the first man who turned and fled. 
Hardly had he said this when the Mohammedans charged 
with spirit, and, although attacking in close column, they 
were repeatedly repelled. For a long time the fight was 
kept up, until, at length Saladin's men retired, and the 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 31 

King of England placed himself at the head of a charge of 
his own men. With lances before them they rushed upon 
the followers of the great Sultan, who, unable to withstand 
the shock of their savage advance, fled precipitously back 
to their own camp. Their attack had been a complete 
failure. 

Saladin was not pleased with the exhibition which his 
own men had made. He rebuked them sternly for their 
cowardice, for it was said that Richard the Lion Hearted 
had ridden through their ranks from right to left without 
any one being bold enough to oppose him, and that he had 
calmly eaten his mid-day meal on the ground between the 
two armies. But, appreciating the valour of the English 
troops, the great INIoslem soon forgave his men, invited the 
emirs, or commanders, to a banquet, and entertained them 
right royally. Meanwhile his army fell back towards 
Jerusalem and was soon joined by a corps from Egypt 
and by other troops from Syria. 

Although Richard had won a great victory his soldiers 
were not fired by the same zeal which he himself possessed, 
and refused to advance. Saladin, on the other hand, soon 
came back at the head of his fresh consignments and 
harassed the outposts with his cavalry. In vain the gallant 
King of England endeavoured to rouse his troops from this 
lethargy — they refused to respond. So, despairing of 
another victory, he endeavoured to patch up a peace with 
Saladin, and, to his surprise, found that this great warrior 
was not adverse to such an arrangement, for his men were 
tired of warfare. After various meetings and harangues, 
a truce was settled upon for three years, with the provision 



32 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

that the country from Tyre to Joppa, including the cities 
of Ramla and Lidda, should belong to the Christians; 
that all the Mohammedan States, including the princi- 
palities of Antioch and Tiberias, should be included in the 
truce ; and that, finally, the pilgrims to Jerusalem should 
be free and untaxed. The departure of Richard, soon 
afterwards, freed the great Sultan from his most dangerous 
foe, but his constitution was broken by the constant toil 
to which he had for many years been subjected, and a 
bilious fever which had come upon him at Damascus, 
caused his death, not many months after the close of the 
war, on March 4th, 1192. 

This eminent soldier had an ardent passion for this Holy 
War, his mind was always engrossed with it. With him, 
to wage war in God's name was a veritable passion ; his 
whole heart was filled with it ; and he gave his body and 
soul to the cause. He spoke of nothing else ; all his thoughts 
were of the instruments of war; while his soldiers 
monopolized every idea. His desire to fight in what he 
thought to be a just cause forced him to leave his family, 
children, his native land, and all else that he possessed. 
Deserting all earthly enjoyments he contented himself 
with living in a small tent, shaken by every wind of the 
desert, and offering but a scant protection from the ele- 
ments. One night, when on the plain of Acre, this blew 
down in a high wind and fell upon him, and had he not 
been in the alcove (a small wooden chamber in the tents of 
Mohammedans) he would have been instantly killed. But 
this accident, instead of frightening him, tended to increase 
his passion for war and to strengthen his purpose to defeat 
the Crusaders. Any one to ingratiate himself with the 



SALADIN: SULTAN OF EGYPT 33 

Sultan had only to narrate to him stories connected with 
the Holy War. 

The holy prophet, whom the Mohammedans worship, 
is reported to have said; " God loves bravery, even (if 
displayed) only in killing a serpent 1 " The Sultan was 
bravest among the brave and was distinguished by energy 
of soul, vigour of character, and intrepid courage. He was 
never terrified by the sight of the Crusaders, in fact, their 
more numerous forces only seemed to inspire him with 
renewed courage and desire for battle. He frequently was 
ill and suffered great pain, but always mounted his horse 
and directed his men. His reproaches to his followers, 
when defeated, often made them rally about him. He was 
conscientious about making his daily devotions to God, 
and, when travelling, used to get down from his horse at 
the appointed hours in order to pray. At his death his 
private gifts and charities had absorbed everything so that 
the sum which he left behind him was not large enough to 
pay his tax. The Great Sultan left neither hoijses, real 
estate, gardens, village, cultivated land, or other pieces of 
property. 

During his life he administered the most rigid justice to 
even the meanest of his subjects who asked for redress, 
as this example of his generosity vdll show. After the cap- 
ture of Jerusalem, when his soldiers wished to massacre 
the Christians, he is said to have remarked, " Spill no blood, 
for it will one day reach your own heads. Preserve the 
hearts of these people with loving care, for they are en- 
trusted to thee by the will of God." xso wonder that both 
Christians and Moslems accorded to him the highest praise 
for virtue, modesty, courage, honesty, and bravery ; virtues 



34 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

which will ever distinguish those of great mind and accom- 
plishment from those of mediocre ability. The death of 
Sultan Saladin deprived his race of not only one of their 
greatest leaders, but of one of the great men of history. 



: UL\J YORK 

.JC LIBRARY 



GENGHIS KHAN : THE PERFECT WARRIOR 

[1162 — 1227] 

APART from Saladin, history bears no record of a 
cavalry leader of note until eight hundred years 
after the death of the savage Attila. Then 
another chieftain of the Asiatic plains arose, whose record 
of conquest is nearly equal to that of the warlike Hun. 
This was Genghis Khan, a Mongolian savage, the events 
of whose life have been carefully preserved by several 
Chinese historians. 

There is no doubt that in personal appearance, he nearly 
resembled the fierce ruler of the Huns. His face was un- 
doubtedly copper-coloured, his eyes aslant, as are those of 
the Chinese, and his hair shaved to form a queue. Ap- 
parently he was of great personal strength, for it would be 
impossible for a man who lacked bodily vigour to hold his 
position among the wild riders of the plains. His temper 
was obstinate and his tastes were warlike and aggressive. 
For savage ferocity and inhumanity, his disposition was 
precisely similar to that of the barbarous Attila. 

In the north-central part of Asia, Genghis Khan was 
born in the year 1162. His father was Yesukai, chief of a 
Mongol tribe, and a man of blood and iron. His mother, 
too, was of noble birth and royal lineage. It so happened 
that Yesukai was at war with some neighbouring tribes 
36 



36 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

when the future warrior first saw the light of day, and with 
his own good sword had slain the leader Temuchin. So 
when he had returned to his tent on the banks of the Onon 
River and found that he had been blessed with a son, he 
named him Temuchin, after the opponent who had gone 
down before his mighty ^blows. Little Temuchin later 
changed his name to Genghis Khan; Genghis meaning 
" perfect " and Khan, " king " or " warrior." This name 
was not ill-taken, for he was to be the most powerful mon- 
arch of all that country and one of the greatest campaigners 
with cavalry which the world has ever known. 

Yesukai died when his little son was thirteen years of 
age, — too young to have an intelligent ider, of ruling his 
rough people. Immediately trouble was in store for him, 
for the Taijuts and other tribes, which were formerly allied 
to his father, rebelled. When, with tears in his eyes, little 
Temuchin attempted to win them over to his allegiance, 
he was met with taunts and jeers. " The deepest wells are 
sometimes dry, and the hardest stone is sometimes broken, 
why should we cling to thee? " they said. With this re- 
mark, they rode away laughing. But when Temuchin's 
mother heard of this treatment, she was extremely angry, 
and taking up her dead husband's standard, she led her 
troops against those who had left. When she came up with 
the fugitives, she showed them scant mercy^ and so, fully 
one-half of the rebellious subjects were brought back be- 
neath the banner of little Temuchin. 

But there were still troubles in store for the youthful 
ruler. Another tribe that had once been allied to his father 
also rebelled. These were people called the Chokes, and 
they swore they would put an end to the young stripling of 



GENGHIS KHAN 37 

a despot before he lived to manhood. Their anger had 
been aroused by various depredations upon their herds by 
Tcmuchin's followers (rough fellows who were more fond 
of stealing than fighting) and so their leader marched to 
attack young Temuchin, then camping upon the plain 
called Turpunchowsu, But Temuchin was not to be 
terrorized by this show of strength. Advised by his mother 
to form his army into divisions, he drew his men up in 
thirteen parts and confidently awaited the attack of the 
enemy. Soon they came on and hurled themselves upon 
his ranks. A terrific fight ensued in which the curved 
Tartar bows and pointed lances were used to good effect. 
After a long and stubborn contest, the Chokes were driven 
from the field in wild disorder, and little Temuchin had be- 
gun to earn the title of Genghis Khan : the perfect warrior. 

This successful battle gave him much fame and prestige 
among the rough tribes of the Asiatic plains. His reputa- 
tion for courage and fairness-of-mind became so wide- 
spread that many wild riders flocked to his standard of 
their own free will. He was now grown to manhood, and, 
although fiercely vindictive against his enemies, was so kind 
to those who allied themselves with him, and so generous, 
that he was justly popular. 

Soon the Taijuts and several other tribes joined them- 
selves with him, so that he had a large army of horsemen 
at his command. It was not long before he was again 
forced to use them in a fight ; for the Naimans, a tribe of 
Turkish horsemen, began to grow bold and aggressive on 
the frontiers of his dominions, to the west. Genghis Khsm 
dispatched sixty envoys to a powerful neighbour, one Ser- 
chin Perke, demanding his aid and requesting that he allow 



38 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

him some five hundred horse to assist in punishing the 
Naimans. But his neighbour refused his request, stating 
that he had enough for his own men to attend to at home. 
To add insult to injury, he put ten of the envoys to death 
and stripped the others of their clothes. Then he sent them 
back on foot, laughing derisively at their discomfort and 
hurling insults after their retreating forms. 

When Genghis Khan heard of this, he was angry beyond 
reason. " Did not Serchin Perke flog my chamberlain and 
wound my overseer? " he roared. " And now he has fur- 
ther insulted me by stripping my poor emissaries of every- 
thing which they possessed. There shall be war, from 
now henceforth, and Serchin Perke shall rue the day that he 
dared to lay hands upon my peaceful followers." So he 
called together the chiefs of his cavalry divisions, told them 
to collect his horsemen, to see that their arrows were well 
pointed and their swords in good condition, and to march 
at daybreak against the camp of Serchin Perke. By morn- 
ing everything was ready for the advance. Genghis Khan, 
wearing a long flowing robe and mounted upon a white 
charger, took the lead, surrounded by his generals. Be- 
hind, the coarse tribesmen were divided into three divisions, 
and these again into subdivisions of squadrons. They rode 
shaggy ponies, tough, sincv.-y, hardy. Their bodies were 
covered with skins and tanned hides, while here and again 
was a man with a corselet of steel, stolen from some dead 
enemy, who was of a tribe more skilled in the mechanical 
arts than their own. They chanted songs and sang joy- 
fully as they crossed the wide plains, confident of victory 
and sure of an ultimate triumph. Nor was this to be denied 
them. Soon the enemy was sighted, drawn up upon a bare 



GENGHIS KHAN 39 

plateau and awaiting their advance with a confidence equal 
to their own. 

There is Httlc record of the fight that ensued, but we can 
well imagine that it must have been severe enough. The 
squadrons met at full speed upon the level plain and 
struggled in a hand-to-hand encounter. Then personal 
prowess counted for something and fighting was not as it is 
in our day, when long-distance guns have made personal 
encounters almost impossible. The battle, we know, was 
long drawn out. But as the sun set upon the plain, the tide 
of conflict turned decidedly in favour of Genghis Khan. 
The followers of Serchin Perke, reeled, turned, and were 
soon broken and defeated. They were cut down by the 
cheering tribesmen of the Mongol army, who spared 
neither horse nor man. Serchin Perke himself escaped 
towards the mountains with a small remnant of his once 
powerful cavalry, and, for a time, eluded his pursuers. 
But a few months later he was surrounded, captured, and 
immediately put to death, by a squadron from the victo- 
rious army of the once despised Temuchin. The vengeance 
of Genghis Khan had been swift and sure. 

From this time on the power and dominion of the Mongol 
leader increased. He seemed to be blessed by a divine fire, 
which brought success to his every undertaking, and he 
was always popular with both troops and administrators. So 
great indeed was his kingdom that it became impossible 
to administer his affairs without the aid of numerous coun- 
sellors. Add to these a host of under secretaries ; and you 
will see that, in time, the court of Genghis Khan grew to 
considerable numbers. It was never stationary, but was 
continually shifted as necessity demanded. Starting with 



40 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

but a small strip of land on the River Onon, v. itli restless 
ambition he had eventually control over the territory from 
the China Sea to the Dnieper River. For a time his name 
was the most feared and respected in all Asia. Even 
Europe heard of his fame and Greek scholars have handed 
down records of his incessant campaigns and have pro- 
nounced his name to be the most important in Asiatic 
history. 

A story which is told of him at this time Vv-ell illustrates 
the affection which he inspired among those with whom he 
came in contact. Attached to him as a body-servant was 
one Muhule, a famous bow-man and distinguished for his 
intelligence and learning. Sj clever was he that he was 
called " The Great Hero." One day he accompanied his 
master in a retreat before a neighbouring tribe, with which 
they were at war, and it happened that as they hastily rode 
before the advancing enemy, they were caught in a terrific 
snow-storm. Muhule had a mat with him which he laid 
upon the ground and bade his master stretch himself upon 
it. Genghis Khan was soon asleep, while Muhule crouched 
down between him and the wind in order to protect his 
body from the snow. When morning came, the master 
rose refreshed, but the faithful Muhule was chilled 
through. 

Admitting no feeling of discomfort to his master, they 
were again soon on their way and travelling through a 
narrow defile in the mountains. WTien Genghis Khan 
looked around him, he exclaimed, 

" This is just the place for robbers ; suppose we were 
attacked here, how should we defend ourselves ? " 

Muhule stepped beside him. 



GENGHIS KHAN 41 

" May it please you," he replied. " I would be respon- 
sible for them." 

Scarcely had he spoken, when a wild yell was heard from 
the side of the pass. A band of robbers was lying there and 
they sprang from their hiding-place with howls of defiance. 
Arrows began to fly from their long bows and so thick were 
they that it looked like a shower of rain. But now the 
gallant Muhule showed himself more than a match for 
them. He seized his own bow, shot three times at the 
robbers, and every time that he shot, a bandit fell to the 
ground mortally wounded, for his aim was deadly. This 
disconcerted the attacking party beyond measure and the 
leader cried out, " Who are you that shoots with such 
accurate aim ? " 

" Muhule," came back the reply. 

'* Muhule," said one of the robbers. " Muhule ? Then 
we have no chance against you." 

So they turned and fled from the mountain pass, for the 
reputation of the gallant Muhule was such as to strike fear 
into their hearts. 

This Muhule's father had also been devoted to the for- 
tunes of his master and had given up his life for him. Once 
in a campaign with a neighbouring tribe, he accompanied 
Temuchin in a hasty flight from a number of pursuing 
Tartars. They had ridden very far without sustenance, 
and Temuchin, as Genghis Khan was then called, became 
faint from loss of food. When his men saw this they were 
much disturbed, and Muhule killed one of the camels which 
he rode. Having dressed the meat and cooked it before a 
fire, he gave it to Temuchin and revived his fainting spirit. 
They then continued on their journey, but a misfortune 



42 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

now befell them, for Temuchin's horse became completely 
exhausted and could go no further. Seeing this, the faith- 
ful Muhule got down from his own mount and put his 
master upon it, running beside him on foot, for the rest of 
the journey. Suddenly he became completely exhausted 
and fell to the ground, — dead. Temuchin was much 
overcome by this and had a monument erected to his faith- 
ful subject when he returned to his own camp. Such an 
example of unselfish service has seldom been met with in 
the annals of Asiatic history. 

It was only to be expected that as the power of this 
mighty warrior grew, he would have many battles with 
neighbouring tribes. One of the riost sagacious of his 
neighbours was Taiyin, chief of the Hung Kcles, who deter 
mined to become his ally and so marched with a large 
force to meet him. While he was leisurely pursuing his 
journey, he was suddenly met by Hochar, the brother 
of Temuchin, who, thinking he had come to make war, 
vigorously attacked his vanguard. A desperate battle 
took place, which lasted from dawn until dark, and which 
terminated in the rout of Taiyin. As was only natural, he 
was infuriated by this reception, and determined, if pos- 
sible, to wreak well-merited revenge upon Genghis Khan. 
With the object in view, he allied himself to Chamuka, the 
most bitter foe which Genghis Khan possessed, when, with 
a number of other tribes, he met in a great conclave at the 
River Keen. After a feast of friendship, they elected Cha- 
muka General-in-chief and entered into an agreement to 
fight against Genghis Khan, the common enemy, saying, 
" Whoso betrays our plans may he be broken like the 
banks of this river and cut off like these trees." As they 



GENGHIS KHAN 43 

uttered these words, they stamped upon the ground and 
cut down the sapHngs, which grew about them, with their 
battle-axes. Then they retired to refresh themselves for 
the coming battle. 

Next morning this mighty host advanced to attack the 
forces of the MongoHan chieftain, but it happened that 
among their numbers was a soldier whose wife was a blood 
relation to Genghis Khan. Secretly leaving her own camp, 
the woman seized a picketed horse and escaped to the 
lines of the enemy, to whom she divulged the approach of 
the hostile army. Here the courage of this famous warrior 
was clearly shown. Realizing that to beat a retreat would 
destroy the spirit of his warriors and would impair their 
warlike valour, Genghis Khan determined upon an imme- 
diate advance. His own troops were far inferior to the foe 
in point of numbers, and the intrepid leader knew that if he 
did not throw himself upon the Allies, they would no doubt 
annihilate his own command through pure superiority of 
attacking power. So the army was up and ready long be- 
fore the day-break. 

Skirting some high hills, which hid the wild horsemen 
from the hostiles, Genghis Khan eventually drew near his 
enemy's line. It was at dawn and the lazy pickets were 
yawning before their camp-fires when the wild Tartars 
debouched from the hills, in whose misty shadow they were 
hidden. Sounding the harsh battle cry, they rushed,. at 
full speed, into the camp, cutting down the guards and 
stampeding a portion of the horses. But they were not 
to have everything their own way, for soon they were 
charged in the flank by a detachment of mounted men and 
their easy conquest was severely disputed. The battle 



44 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

waged for an hour or more and then turned in favour of 
Genghis Khan. Chamuka himself rode away for his life, 
followed by the remnants of his army, and Taiyin, seeing 
that all was lost, submitted his sword to the conqueror, 
swearing continual allegiance to him from henceforth. 

The history of this man's life from now on seems to be 
similar to that of every great conqueror. He increased in 
the desire for power and dominion and let no chance go 
by where he could wage war against those who opposed 
his will. Nor were his enemies able to form alliances 
which were powerful enough to withstand him. Napoleon 
the First was eventually crushed by a combination of 
armies from territories which he had held in subjection, 
but such was not to be the fate of this terrible Mongol, 
whose lust for conflic!: seemed to be insatiable. Tribe 
after tribe was brought under subjection until he governed 
an empire of many Liillions of souls. But he was not only 
a conqueror. He made many good laws, and the courts 
of justice which he established were famed for their equal- 
ity in settling disputes among his own people. It makes 
one shudder to read that, from 1211 to 1223, 18,470,000 
human beings perished in Chain and Tangut alone be- 
cause of this warrior, yet we learn that he governed those 
who did submit to him with great leniency. His creed 
seemed to be to raze all cities to the ground, for he deemed 
thdm the haunts of slaves and luxury, and in their stead, 
he wished to see green grass for his herds to graze upon. 
Siege works were always constructed outside the doomed 
walls of the towns w^hich he attacked. These were armed 
with catapults and peasants were forced to work them day 
and night so that the beleaguered garrisons had no rest. A 



GENGHIS KHAN 45 

siege was rarely abandoned, and sometimes lasted a 5 car. 
At the end there was usually a massacre of those defenders 
who had withstood the assaults of his own fierce troopers. 

Shortly after the fight with Chamuka, there was diffi- 
culty with Tayang Khan, chief of the Naimans. He was 
jealous of the growing power of Genghis Khan and so sent 
messengers to the chief of the White Tartar Tribe, asking 
him to assist in stemming the advance of this conqueror. 
" I hear that there has arisen in the East a chief who aspires 
to the title of Emperor," he said. " Now there is only one 
sun in the heavens, and there is only one supreme ruler on 
earth, so if you will send supports to my right wing I will 
undertake to rob him of his bows and arrows." 

But this message did not meet with the cordial support 
which Tayang Khan had expected, for the chief of the 
White Tartar Tribe was closely allied to Genghis Khan in 
many interests. So he sent certain messengers to him to 
tell him what had happened, and with them six flasks of 
wine; a luxury which was then totally unknown among 
the followers of the Great Mongol Invader. The Em- 
peror himself partook of the contents but did not parti- 
cularly approve of the beverage. ' A little of this stuff," 
he remarked, " raises the spirits. On the other hand an 
overdose confuses them." So, from then on, he did not 
allow wine to be used in his own camp, which was quite 
in keeping with his stern and fanatical character. 

The news which the chief of the White Tartar Tribe had 
given him made it evident to Genghis Khan that he must 
soon wage war against the Naimans, so, in the year 1204, 
he called his warrior leaders of cavalry together on the 
banks of the river Tcmeker in order to discuss plans for a 



46 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

campaign against his enemies. His idea was to make an 
immediate advance, for he had always been successful in 
precipitous attacks, but to this his generals of horse de- 
murred, saying, " The Spring is just opening and our 
horses are thin after the cold and bad forage of the Winter. 
Let us therefore wait until they have been strengthened 
by summer pastures, and in the Autumn let us take to the 
field." 

But Gotsekin, the brother of Genghis Khan, was of a 
different opinion. 

" The provocation we have received is too great and the 
matter too urgent to make the condition of our horses a 
sufficient plea for delay," he said. 

This idea was popular among a number of the leaders 
of the divisions. One stood up and remarked, 

" The threat of the Naimans to capture our bows and 
arrows is an insult which must be avenged. For, trusting 
in the mightiness of their Kingdom, they speak swelling 
words. If then, while they are lifted up in their pride, we 
overthrow them, we shall once again recover our prestige." 

This speech was most satisfactory to Genghis Khan, 
who now stood up. 

" Let us fight at once, and who is there who doubts on 
which side the victory will lie ? " he said. 

His remarks were greeted with a loud shout of approval, 
and those who had first spoken seemed to have forgotten 
their early ideas of delay. With alacrity they began to 
prepare for the campaign. Their swords were sharpened, 
arrows re-pointed, and horses groomed and strengthened 
by more feeding. The camp was moved to a large moun- 
tain, called Mount Chintakai, from which a view could be 



GENGHIS KHAN 47 

had of all the surrounding territory. But the Naimans 
had also been active and Tayang moved his camp to the 
Kangai Mountains where he was joined by Toto, leader of 
the Alerkits, and several other chiefs ; thus increasing his 
force to a somewhat unwieldy size. 

While the two armies lay watching each other and pre- 
paring for the coming battle, a troop-horse that had broken 
loose from the camp of Genghis Khan, strayed into the 
lines of the Naimans. He was caught and brought before 
Tayang who saw how poor his condition was and said to 
his generals ; 

" See how thin and weak are the horses of the far-famed 
Genghis Khan. Now if we decoy his followers within our 
borders by feigning retreat, we shall be able to surround 
and utterly destroy them." 

But this policy did not please his soldiers and they did 
not hesitate to say so. One of his most prominent gen- 
erals voiced the opinion of his men. " Our former ruler," 
he said, " always led us straight to the attack, and in those 
days our enemies never saw our horses' tails or the backs 
of our men. Your present counsel is but the product of 
fear. If you have not the courage to lead us, let your wives 
come and command our army." 

No man of spirit could stand such a taunt, so when Tay- 
ang heard this he was angry and determined to begin battle 
at once. Calling his different leaders to him, he pointed out 
where they were were to take position, ordering them to 
sound the " to arms," at daybreak, and gave them definite 
directions for fighting. When the morning came his 
mighty army advanced to the conflict, confidently expect- 
ing to crush the power of C nghis Khan. 



48 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

But the crafty Mongol was ready for them. He had 
drawn his own horsemen up in battle array on the flanks 
of his line and in the centre had placed his bowmen, armed 
with a goodly supply of spare arrows. They lay down 
behind some rocky prominences in front and awaited the 
oncoming of their enemies with songs and cheers of de- 
fiance. Soon the attacking line was seen approaching 
through the morning mist, and it was not long before they 
were near enough to receive a shower of barbs and missiles 
from the centre of the Mongol line. Disregarding this 
the Naimans rushed onward and were soon engaged in a 
hand-to-hand encounter among the boulders. The masses 
of cavalry crashed into each other simultaneously, and soon 
the entire force was engaged. A chronicler of the period 
says; "When the sun touched the western horizon, the vic- 
tory for Genghis Khan was complete; the formidable Tay- 
ang was numbered with the slain, and his troops were in 
full flight. While yet the vanquished soldiers hurried from 
the field, darkness fell upon them and thousands were 
dashed to pieces over the mountain precipices which sur- 
rounded them. But the number of those who perished 
was as nothing to those who were slain and taken prisoners." 

After this victory, Genghis Khan considered himself 
sufficiently powerful to proclaim himself ruler of an em- 
pire, so he called together all the tribes which were tribu- 
tary to him and assumed the title of Emperor. The meet- 
ing-place was on the banks of the Onon, in the same spot 
where he had been born, and where, in his infancy, the 
very tribes which now bowed down to him had refused to 
acknowledge him their superior. 

Having assumed this august title, he now began another 



GENGHIS KHAN 49 

offensive campaign against those tribes lying to the south 
of his possessions. These he defeated in several skirmishes 
and drove southward until they took refuge behind the 
great wall of China, built by some of the earlier Emperors 
of the unwarlike Chinese to keep out just such ruthless 
invaders as himself. But he stormed the parapet, secured 
a footing on the wall, and from this vantage-point dis- 
patched three separate bodies of horse to overrun the 
country. The left wing of this division was commanded 
by his brothers, the right wing by his three sons, and the 
centre by himself. Complete success attended the ex- 
pedition ; over thirty cities were razed to the ground and 
the inhabitants forced to bear the yoke of this alien. Thus 
the ruler over all these people was compelled to make peace 
with the terrible warrior. As a peace offering, he presented 
Genghis Khan with five hundred young men and women 
and three thousand horses. 

Not satisfied with the conquest of all Northern China, 
Genghis now prepared a campaign against the people 
living to the west of his possessions. This country was then 
under the sovereignty of Muhammed, a courageous and 
crafty ruler, who had outraged the feelings of the Mongols 
by putting to death some of their envoys. Bent upon 
revenge for this insult, the flower of the Mongolian army 
was marched into Turkestan against four hundred thou- 
sand warriors, led by the intrepid Muhammed. It is said 
that near one million men participated in the battle that 
ensued, which lasted over two days, and resulted in the com- 
plete rout of the force under Muhammed. One hundred 
and sixty thousand dead lay upon the field, when the sun 
sank upon that terrible affair. City after city capitulated 



50 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

to the invaders, who followed the lead of their commander 
in robbery and plunder, after each separate capture. He, 
himself, mounted the steps of a temple in Bokhara, (a rich 
and populous town) and cried, " The hay is cut, my 
followers, give your horses fodder !" Is it a wonder that 
his greedy soldiers made havoc of the treasures of the city ? 

Genghis now pursued Muhammed with a flying column 
of seventy thousand men, defeated him in several skir- 
mishes and so disorganized his following, that his soldiers 
deserted whenever the opportunity presented itself. Poor 
Muhammed fled to a small town on the Caspian Sea, where 
he died of pneumonia, praying, with his last breath, that 
his son would continue the war against the tyrant. This 
his faithful descendant endeavoured to do, but outnumbered 
and out-manoeuvred, he was forced to fall back before the 
attack of the superior force, until he reached a deep river. 
Here he made his last stand, a desperate one indeed, but he 
was unable to hold his ground. Seeing that the day was 
lost, he jumped upon a fresh horse, and plunged twenty 
feet below, into the river, over which he swam in safety, 
only to hurl defiance at Genghis Khan from the opposite 
side with his clenched fist. The Conqueror smiled at this, 
for he admired a brave man when he saw one, and was not 
sorry that the fugitive had made his escape. 

A force was soon sent in pursuit of the son of Mu- 
hammed, but he was too active to be captured. So the 
soldiers laid waste to the towns and villages in their path 
before they returned to the main army, now on its way to 
Mongolia. The Mongols arrived from this great expedi- 
tion with confidence and enthusiasm, for their march had 
been one series of successes. They had travelled from 



GENGHIS KHAN 51 

Asia to the border line of Europe and had conquered 
wherever they had gone. Hundreds of towns, cities and 
villages had been taken, and they were rich in stolen plun- 
der, for this was one of the greatest campaigns of conquest 
in all history. 

But in spite of apparent bodily strength, at this time, 
the life of the mighty Genghis Khan was soon to come to a 
close. He was now sixty-five years of age, still active and 
mentally vigorous, but his existence of toil and exposure 
in the open had begun to tell on him. While on a cam- 
paign against the Chinese in the western portion of Asia, 
word was brought by one of the court astrologers, that five 
planets in the heavens were seen to be very close to 
one another. To the superstitious mind of the Barbarian, 
the omen was one of evil. The more he thought upon the 
matter, the more perturbed he became, and so he turned 
about for home, believing that some ill would befall him. 
It proved that these suspicions were correct, for, when he 
arrived upon the banks of a small river in Southern China, 
he was suddenly seized with a violent illness. He died a 
short time afterwards, having been carried to Mongolia 
upon a litter. By the terms of his will, his son was made 
successor to the Empire ; and it was considered of so much 
importance that his death should be kept a secret, that the 
escort of the funeral procession killed every one they met 
on the way to his last resting-place. 

So perished the Great Genghis Khan; warrior; con- 
queror ; captain of light and heavy horse. His had truly 
been a strenuous existence and filled with the utmost dan- 
ger and excitement. From the banks of the Amoor River 
in Mongolia he had successfully carried his horsemen to 



52 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

the Dnieper River, which flows through Russia into the 
Black Sea; from the land of the Koreans on the Pacific 
Ocean, near Japan, to the very south of Chinese Empire 
of the present day. He had penetrated the deserts of 
Persia and had swept far below the border line of India. 
Those who stood in his path were treated with barbaric 
leniency. He founded a mighty empire, but it was soon' 
dissipated under the rule of his descendants, leaving be- 
hind only the record of the great conqueror, — a name 
which will last for all time. 




CHEVALIER BAYARD 



THE NEW YORK 
:-BLTC LIBRARY 



0-, LL-OX A-.'D 
riLDFN fOU DA ions. 



CHEVALIER BAYARD: THE WARRIOR WITH- 
OUT FEAR AND WITHOUT REPROACH 

[1475 — 1524] 

ALTHOUGH history shows us that the age of Attila 
and of Genghis Khan was rough and brutal, an- 
other period of European warfare was upon a far 
different plane. Where — in the earlier ages — men had 
Utde kindness for the conquered, and no respect, or regard, 
for their rights, a change came over the customs and the 
manners of the people. War was conducted with as much 
fierceness as ever, but with more thought for the injured 
and kindness to those who fell captive. The warriors and 
knights who devoted their lives to those conflicts which 
were continually waged between jealous rulers, dedi- 
cated themselves to pure, unselfish living, and to lofty ideals. 
They went through a rigid course of training to gain a 
knowledge of the profession of arms, and endeavoured to 
pursue their chosen calling with respect for the weak and 
generous treatment of the strong. 

Among those who have left noble reputations in the 
records of this chivalric age, are Richard the Lion Hearted, 
King of England and conqueror of the Moslem hosts which 
defended Jerusalem: Sir Philip Sidney, the English 
courtier and poet: and Chevalier Bayard, a French 
knight of the most incomparable generosity, bravery, and 
63 



54 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

kindness of heart. He was one of those illustrious persons 
who are the pride of their country and an inspiration to 
human progress. The many virtues which he possessed 
have justly rendered him the most attractive character 
that has ever graced the pages of history. 

This famous soldier was born at the Castle of Bayard 
in Dauphiny, France, about the middle of the Fifteenth 
Century, and was sprung from a race of knights and war- 
riors who had, for many generations, expended both their 
energy and their fortunes in the service of their native land. 
He inherited an intrepid courage and an exalted sense of 
honour from his parents, who took great care with his early 
education in order that it should be suitable to the dignity 
of his family. From his father he inherited a strong con- 
stitution and vigorous frame ; from his mother, a love of 
learning and literature. This was appreciated by his 
uncle, the Bishop of Grenoble, who perceived the many 
excellent virtues of the young man, and took so much in- 
terest in his welfare, that he had him instructed under his 
own eye. With this able tuition he early learned those 
rudiments of both learning and character that are essential 
to all who are to become men of mark. 

When thirteen years of age his father became grievously 
ill, and, fearing that his end was approaching, sent for his 
wife and four children in order to make provisions for their 
future and find out what careers they wished to follow. 
The oldest boy said that he wished to live with his parents 
as long as they remained on earth, and to reside in the old 
homestead as a country gentleman, after their death. Then 
Bayard, the second son, was asked what he wished to do 
in order to gain a livelihood. With a spirit, surprising in 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 55 

one of such youthful mind, he repHed that, as he held such 
a glorious name, and one so illustrious in the warfare of his 
country, that he begged permission to be allowed to follow 
in the footsteps of his numerous ancestors who had taken 
up the profession of arms. " I hope," he concluded, " by 
the grace of God, to do no dishonour to this, one of the most 
glorious and exalted houses in France, and, by no word or 
deed to take one spark from the glory of my ancestors." 
At this noble speech his father was moved to tears. " My 
son," he said. " You are already in face and figure like 
your grandfather, who was one of the most accomplished 
gentlemen of his time. I am rejoiced to hear your resolu- 
tion, and I wish to do all that I can to forward your wishes 
by placing you in the house of some high-born Prince where 
you will learn all the noble and manly exercises necessary 
for a knight." 

So his good father lost no time in finding a position for 
him with some influential noble who could instruct him in 
the art of chivalry and knighthood. The kind Bishop of 
Grenoble took upon himself the presentation of the boy at 
court, and resolved to send him to the great Duke of Savoy 
to be his page. So together they travelled to Chamberri, 
where the court was, and made known their presence to the 
servants of this powerful courtier. When the Duke, him- 
self, learned of their presence, he received them with many 
signs of friendship, and pressed them to remain and dine 
with him. To this they consented, and the youthful Bay- 
ard waited upon the table with such grace and proficiency, 
that the Duke was favourably impressed with his manners, 
and asked who the child was. 

*' Sir," said the old man, " He is my nephew whom I 



56 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

have brought with me, to present to you, if his services will 
be of any use to you." 

The Duke seemed highly pleased. " I accept him at 
once," he replied. " And should indeed be difficult to 
please if I refused to accept such a present." 

So Bayard was made a member of the Duke's house- 
hold, where he applied himself diligently to all the exercises 
which were essential to the youth who would become a 
knight. He learned to wrestle, jump, hurl the bar, and 
fence with the rapier. He attended his master in his walks ; 
bore his messages for him ; followed behind in the chase ; 
and waited upon him at table. He was taught good be- 
haviour; heard lectures on religion, poetry, and art; and 
was instructed to give due reverence to God. By his grace, 
docility, and good manners, he won the respect of all, 
while those with whom he came in contact were sensible 
to a rare fascination which he possessed, and were attracted 
to him by an affectionate regard. Although excelling all 
the other pages in athletic exercises, he did not stimulate 
their jealousy by his success, for they admired his skill; 
praised his strength; and felt a high regard for him be- 
cause of the purity and loftiness of his mind. 

The young and accomplished Bayard remained with 
the Duke for some time, and then accompanied him to the 
court of Charles the Eighth, who had been at Lyons, for 
over a year, amusing himself with tourneys, feasts, and 
balls. The King was then in the prime of life and had 
always loved men of brave and enterprising spirit. For 
this reason, and because of Bayard's attractive appearance, 
he was so much impressed by the boy that he asked who 
he was. " That," answered the Duke of Savoy, " is yoiang 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 57 

Bayard, the nephew of the Bishop of Grenoble and one of 
the most accompUshed of my pages." As he was speaking 
these words, the horse which Bayard was riding began to 
rear and plunge, but was unable to unseat hie skilful rider. 
" Spur him, Page ! Spur him ! " shouted the Duke, as the 
horse started to gallop. The other pages also shouted, 
" Spur I Spur ! " So Bayard pricked his steed with much 
skill, and galloped across the plain as if shot from the 
mouth of a cannon. Then he curbed the fierce dash of 
his charger, wheeled him about, and cantered back to the 
place from which he had started with all the ease and grace 
of a rider of thirty years' experience. The King was much 
impressed by this show of horsemanship, and, so pleased 
with his spirit and appearance, that he offered him a posi- 
tion in his own service. Bayard accepted at once, was put 
in care of the Count of Ligny, and was named, " Piquez," 
which, in French, means, "spur." By this surname he was 
known for a long time afterwards. 

At the end of three years — when Bayard was nineteen 
— he was made a man-at-arms, and, later, a gentleman- 
of-the-house, a position to which a very small salary was 
attached, so small, indeed, that it was impossible for him 
to equip himself with horses, armour, and arms, which are 
necessary for one who holds this situation. About this 
time a knight, famous for his skill in arms, obtained per- 
mission from the King to have a tournament for the enter- 
tainment of the court. He therefore hung up his coat of 
armour in a conspicuous place, where all who struck it were 
to thus signify that they wished to enter the contest. Bay- 
ard accidentally passed by the place where the breast-plate 
was hung up, accompanied by an old friend, and was 



58 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

seized with a strong desire to strike the gage. But, as he 
had no arms or horses — nor money to buy them with — 
he resolved to rehnquish his design, and so hung his head 
in disconsolate silence. His companion, Belarbre, saw the 
gloomy look upon his countenance and said, " My friend, 
why do you look so sad ? Has aught befallen you of a dis- 
tressing nature? " 

" Indeed it is the truth," Bayard replied, " Here I am 
eager and willing to prove my ability as a knight, and yet 
1 cannot enter the lists because I am poor and have not the 
means to do so." 

" Fear not," replied Belarbre, " You shall have every 
necessity and your uncle will defray the expense." 

" You deceive yourself, my friend," said Bayard, " He 
will advance no money. But were my good friend, the 
Bishop of Grenoble, in the neighbourhood, there would, at 
least be a gleam of hope ; but he is at too great a distance. 
As to my uncle, the Abbot D'Esnay, there is nothing to be 
expected of him." 

Belarbre answered quickly. " It matters not. You 
must strike the coat of armour and I will answer for the 
event. To-morrow we will go to your uncle the Abbot 
D'Esnay, who must not refuse you." 

So Bayard was persuaded by the soothing voice of his 
friend. He struck the coat of armour and thus entered the 
tournament, though totally unprepared to do so. And he 
was not to gain the assistance of his uncle as easily as he 
expected, for, when he found him, at his Abbey, and told 
him of the purpose of his visit, he was answered with cold- 
ness, and informed that the money of the church could not 
be given to young men to squander away in profane amuse- 
ments. 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 59 

To this the disappointed youth answered with a tone of 
sorrow and respect, " I only pursue that path of glory that 
has been marked out by my ancestors, dear uncle, and they 
have all signalized themselves by deeds of arms. They 
all acquired an honourable renown by the sword, and if you 
now forsake mc, I will be held up to public shame, and 
thus the whole house of Terail will be covered with dis- 
honour." 

This appeal melted the heart of the Abbot, who changed 
his opinion immediately and gave his nephew a letter of 
credit on a merchant, and money with which to purchase 
horses. Thus, on the day of the tournament. Bayard ap- 
peared as well equipped as any, and he acquitted himself 
with so much credit, that, when he returned from an en- 
counter with the knight who had hung up his armour, he 
received praise from the veteran warriors and admiration 
from numbers of the ladies. The King was so delighted 
with his success that he expressed, in the warmest manner, 
the satisfaction which it gave him. As a token of his es- 
teem he dispatched him to Flanders, shortly afterwards, 
with a company of artillery, and presented him with money 
and horses with which to equip himself as a knight and a 
gentleman. 

In Flanders Bayard remained for two years undl the 
breaking out of hosdlities between the French King and 
the Italians, when he joined the invading army of his 
sovereign. Charles the Eighth was young, impulsive, and 
desirous of bringing renown to his reign. He therefore 
resolved to make good his pretensions to the Kingdom of 
Naples. With a well appointed army, which was small in 
numbers, he entered Italy, bore everything before him, 



60 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

and captured Naples. All went well with him until he be- 
gan to return to France, when — with a sudden and un- 
expected patriotism — the Italians rose ; formed an army 
of fifty thousand ; and marched to battle with the French 
conqueror. Although Charles had a much inferior army 
he relied upon the natural valour of his troops to withstand 
the attack of this vastly superior force. The rival factions 
met near the village of Fornova,a fierce fight ensued, which 
resulted in a victory for the French only after a terrific 
assault by the King himself, at the head of three hundred 
horse. As the Italians fled, the French monarch was left 
behind with a few attendants to protect him ; a situation 
which some of the Italian troops soon perceived, and so 
rallied a sufficient force to hem him in on all sides and at- 
tempt his capture. 

Bayard perceived the dangerous situation in which his 
sovereign was placed, and, together with several other 
youthful knights, rushed to his aid. They fought valiantly 
with the Italians who surrounded him, and who — spurred 
on by the desire to secure a large ransom which they knew 
would be forthcoming for the King's person — made des- 
perate efforts to get near enough to carry him away. But 
so successful was the youthful Bayard, that he was able to 
knock down several Italian soldiers who came close enough 
to make a dash for the King, and, at last, help came from 
a troop of French cavalry, returning from the pursuit of 
the fleeing Italians. At this, the surrounding force re- 
treated, leaving the King free to receive the congratulations 
of his troops, and to congratulate them, in turn, upon 
their glorious victory. A courtier presented Bayard to 
him after the battle, and said, " Sire, see, here is your 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 61 

young Piquet who has behaved during the action with un- 
common bravery. He has had two horses killed under him, 
and has taken his standard from the enemy, which he now 
has the honour of presenting to you. But why should I 
mention his virtues ? You have been an eye-witness of his 
exploits." 

" I am fully satisfied with young Bayard's valour," re- 
plied the King, and turned to the blushing, young knight. 
" Continue to distinguish yourself and I will not forget 
you," he said. Then, requesting that he kneel, he struck 
him with the flat of his sword and thus conferred upon 
him the order of knighthood, presenting him, later, with a 
purse of five hundred crowns. " For," he remarked, " I 
have seen no one during the engagement who has rendered 
himself more worthy of the honour which I have conferred 
upon you." Thus Bayard, had, at last, achieved the dis- 
tinction which he craved ; had fulfilled the promise of his 
youth ; and had brought further glory to the honourable 
name of his family. 

But although he had made a reputation for himself 
under Charles the Eighth, that monarch soon died, and it 
was under his successor, Louis the Twelfth of Orleans, that 
Bayard's greatest deeds of valour, kindness, and heroism 
occurred. This King pursued the war against the Italians 
with all the zeal of his predecessor; sent an army into the 
country; and soon captured Milan, Pavia, and other 
smaller towns. But he was not to hold them without a 
struggle. An army under Louis Sforza recaptured Milan ; 
defeated the troop sent there to defend it ; and proceeded 
to await reinforcements before marching against Louis 
himself. Bayard was not in Milan at the time of its capitu- 



62 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

lation, but soon after the city had opened its gates to Sforza, 
had a skirmish with fifty alHed horsemen against three 
hundred of the enemy. So desperate was the attack of his 
own men that the ItaHans gave way and fled into the town. 
The French followed them to the outskirts of the city, 
where one of their number — seeing that they would be 
captured — cried out, "Turn, men-at-arms; turn about 
before you are set upon by a new force of the enemy ! " 
Every one followed this advice except Bayard, who was too 
much interested in the fight to hear, and followed the flee- 
ing soldiers into Milan itself. Here the white cross upon 
his shield was recognized by the townspeople, who shouted, 
" Take him ! He is a Frenchman ! " So he was sur- 
rounded ; disarmed ; and carried to the house of one of 
the Italian officers, who thought so highly of his valour in 
the field, that he treated him in a manner suited to his rank 
and merit. 

Bayard was now taken before Sforza, himself, who said» 
" My good gentleman, come here and tell me what haa 
brought you to this town." 

" I had no idea that I was alone," replied Bayard. " J 
thought that my companions were behind me, but they are 
wiser than I and more used to the ways of war, or they 
would undoubtedly have been made prisoners as well aa 
myself. In the meantime, in my disgrace, I thank Heaven 
that I have fallen into such good hands as yours." 

Sforza was much pleased by this brave address, and 
asked what forces the French commander had with him. 

"Sir," Bayard answered, " they are all picked men, 
about eighteen thousand in all, and resolved to make the 
Duchy of Milan submit at once, and for ever, to the King, 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 63 

their master ; and as for you, sir, I assure you, you will be 
far safer in Germany than here, for your men cannot pos- 
sibly resist us." 

The Duke was amused at this remark, and so touched 
by Bayard's behaviour and boldness, that he decided to 
allow him his freedom. 

" Set your mind at rest," said he. " It is my intention 
to allow you to go. Ask anything you like of me, and I will 
grant it you." 

Such generosity fairly overwhelmed the courageous 
Bayard, who knelt upon one knee, and answered. " Sir, 
the greatest favour I can ask of you is to restore me my arms 
and horse, and, believe me, I shall always be ready to serve 
you if I can do so with honour to my King and country," 

The Duke ordered one of his retainers to bring the good 
Knight's horse and arms, and when the former arrived, 
Bayard vaulted into the saddle with great ease and agility ; 
thanked his captor again for his generosity ; and departed 
for his own camp; where he was welcomed with great 
enthusiasm by the troops. They were much astonished 
to learn that he had been allowed to return without ransom. 

Not long after this a truce was agreed upon between the 
French and Spanish armies which was to last for a few 
months. But this did not please the warlike spirits of num- 
bers of the soldiers. So restless did a few Frenchmen 
become, through lack of occupation, that they decided to 
challenge a number of the Spaniards to a battle in the open, 
before two judges, who were to see that there was fair play. 
Chevalier Bayard was among those who pined for combat, 
and through his exertions, a fight was arranged between 
thirteen of his own men — including himself — and thirteen 



64 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Spaniards. The time and place was settled upon, and the 
following rules: First, that whoever passed beyond cer- 
tain bounds was to be excluded from the combat : Second, 
that those who should be dismounted should engage no 
more : Third, that if one party could not entirely defeat 
the other, they were both to quit the field with equal honour. 

When the contest began, the Spaniards feared the 
superior fighting qualities of the French, and so attempted 
to take advantage of the second ruling. They attacked 
the horses of the Frenchmen and killed eleven of them 
before an hour was past; those of Bayard and another 
knight being the only ones to escape, through the skill of 
their riders. And although they were now only two against 
thirteen, they defended themselves behind the dead horses 
of their friends with such coolness and courage, that the 
Spaniards were kept at bay until evening, when the judges 
put an end to the affair and declared the fight to be a drawn 
battle. Bayard was most highly complimented for his 
bravery and courage in this skirmish, and his fame as a 
warrior became known to all. 

Not long after this event, the truce between the con- 
tending armies came to an end, and a fierce battle was 
fought which resulted in a defeat for the French. As they 
retreated. Bayard placed himself in the rear to defend the 
beaten army, and fought with such obstinacy against the 
advancing Spaniards, that they were held in check. The 
troops were forced across the river Garrillano ; intrenched 
themselves upon the opposite bank; and there awaited 
the onset which they knew would soon come ; while Bay- 
ard — ^\dth one other cavalier — was the last to cross the 
bridge over the stream. As they did so, nearly two hun- 



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CHEVALIER BAYARD 65 

dred Spaniards advanced to take the causeway, but, noth- 
ing daunted at this superior number, the brave Chevalier 
placed himself at the end of the bridge to dispute their 
passage, and directed his companion to hasten and bring 
up some one to help him. With lance in hand, he rushed 
upon the Spaniards on the bridge, and attacked them with 
so much fury that two or three were staggered and forced 
into the water, where they were unable to swim because of 
their heavy armour. like an angry lion he held the cause- 
way, and wielded his sword with so much spirit, that the 
Spaniards did not think him a man, but a devil. In fact, 
he held the passage against every one, until his comrade 
came to his aid with two hundred men-at-arms, who com- 
pelled the Spaniards to abandon the bridge, and chased 
them for over a mile from it, until they ran into the main, 
Spanish army. 

But misfortune too often follows upon the heels of vic- 
tory. The brave Chevalier had pursued the foe, as they 
retreated, and, with his usual rashness, had come too close 
to the hostile line. As he was the last to retreat before the 
enemy, he was quite alone, when his horse — almost worn 
out with fatigue — fell beneath him ; an accident which 
was immediately perceived by a detachment of Spanish 
cavalry, which now rushed upon him and compelled his 
surrender. But, as luck would have it, some of his own party 
discovered that he was not with them, and so made after 
him on the gallop ; defeated the enemy ; and once more 
set free their gallant leader. As he returned to his own 
lines, he was greeted with cheer after cheer, for the troops 
had seen his fearless defence of the bridge and could not 
too highly compliment him upon his behaviour. 



66 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Thus the fame of Chevalier Bayard as a warrior 
grew greater day by day, until he was the best known and 
most talked-of knight in all of France. Nor was his fame 
due solely to these feats of arms which so astonished every 
one. A courtesy, honesty, and cheerfulness of spirit was his, 
and a kindliness that often showed itself in gracious acts 
to those weaker than himself. He was respected by all 
with whom he came in contact, and was admired by both 
friend and foe. Rich he was not, nor was he likely to be, 
because of his great charity to many poor people who con- 
tinually asked him for money and assistance. With 
patriotic disinterestedness he continued to fight for King 
and country, and to use his power and influence in behalf 
of those who controlled the armies of France. 

Not many months after the fight at the bridge, in which 
the Chevalier so distinguished himself, war broke out with 
the Venetians. Gaston de Foix was in charge of the French 
troops which marched against the city of Brescia, — held 
by the Venetians in force, and ably defended by them. 
Bayard was with the French army, full of his customary 
spirit and cheerfulness — in spite of the fact that he had 
just recovered from a severe attack of fever — and he gal- 
lantly placed himself in the front of the troops when the 
attack on the Citadel began. A desperate fight was soon 
in progress; the air resounded with the shouts of the 
soldiers ; while the battle cries of France, Bayard, and St. 
Mark, echoed from every side. The Chevalier charged 
upon the fortifications at the head of his company, and, 
in the shock of arms, received a severe wound from a pike 
thrust in the thigh, so that he soon was unable to walk, and 
fell back into the arms of two of his archers, who carried 
him away from the heat of battle. 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 67 

As he was removed from the field, a Captain came up to 
hun and expressed sincere sorrow at seeing him so badly 
wounded. " Push on," said the Chevalier, as he looked 
up at him, " the town is ours; put the finishing stroke to 
the victory which is now obtained — I cannot follow you — 
the period of my life is now at a close." These words 
seemed to be the last that he would speak, and raised the 
courage of his soldiers to the height of frenzy when they 
heard what he had said. In spite of the overwhelming 
numbers against them, they pushed on and rushed furi- 
ously upon the Itahans, crying, " Let us revenge the death 
of the most accomplished Captain which France ever saw ! " 
So severe was their onset, that the town was taken. 

But while the soldiers were pillaging and looting, the 
two, good archers bore the Chevalier to a house, the mis- 
tress of which had concealed her two daughters in a hay 
loft, for she feared violence at the hands of the rough sol- 
diers. Shedding a flood of tears, she sank upon her knees 
and besought Bayard to spare the life of those within the 
household. The appeal touched the noble Chevalier, 
whose compassion was equal to his bravery. " Rise, 
madam," he said, " and have no fear, for you have a gentle- 
man in the house who has never done a dishonourable deed. 
Both you and your daughters may rest in peace. Archers, 
guard the door and let no person enter save by my orders ! " 
And thus violence and plunder were kept from the house 
in which he lay. 

After some months he was again able to take the field, 
as the wound from which he suffered was not mortal, and 
rapidly healed. The French army had advanced to Ra- 
venna, when he joined it, and it was soon to meet in combat 



68 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

with the Italians — now stronger than ever — and burning 
to avenge the defeat at Brescia. Before the battle an 
Astrologer was consulted by the French General Gaston 
de Foix, who inquired what was to be the fate of the contest. 
" The French will conquer," said the Astrologer, " but 
the victory will be purchased at a very dear price." 

After this remark, several of the officers asked if they 
were to be killed; to which the Astrologer replied, *' You 
will not fall here, but in other engagements." Bayard 
alone, seemed to be indifferent about his ow^n fate, and 
looked about him with a smile of contempt. " Chevalier," 
said Gaston de Foix, " since you entertain yourself at the 
expense of the others, you must consult the Astrologer." 
" My Prince," replied the Chevalier, " as I have no faith 
in his predictions, I will have no recourse to his knowl- 
edge." But Gaston persisted in his request, so Bayard 
held out his hand to the Astrologer, and asked him in a 
jocose manner, "whether he should ever amass riches — 
whether he should obtain high posts of honour — and 
whether he was to fall in the battle." 

" Riches," replied the fortune teller, " you will never 
have, for your heart is not set upon them. As to honour, 
there is no Frenchman who shall receive it in a more plenti- 
ful measure. You will serve a King, after him whom you 
now obey, who will both love and esteem you. You shall 
escape this bloody day, but in twelve years you will be 
killed, and I prophesy also that if you are not slain by a 
cannon, or a musket shot, you will live many years more." 

Next day a furious battle was fought in which over four- 
teen thousand men were killed, among them Gaston de 
Foix, — the brave leader of the French army. His soldiers, 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 69 

irritated by his loss, made a second attack on the town, 
carried it by assault, and put all to death who came in their 
way. Bayard acted like a hero ; was in the forefront of 
battle at all times; and did much to inspire the troops 
with fortitude and courage. 

After this the Chevalier saw little service until Henry 
the Eighth of England invaded the soil of France with an 
immense army. Bayard was sent, with a large force, to 
stem the advance of the English, and met them near Guine- 
gate, where, to the dishonour of the French, they used 
their spurs more than their swords, and fled so precipi- 
tously, that the fight has been jusdy called " the battle of 
the spurs." The Chevalier, with a few others, faced about, 
in the disorganization, with the endeavour to combat his ad- 
versaries with valour, and, for a time, succeeded in check- 
ing the advance of the victorious troops, until they sur- 
rounded him on every side. Seeing a knight, not far dis- 
tant, who had dismounted from his horse and was beneath 
a tree, he galloped up to him, sword in hand, and made 
him his prisoner. But he now found that it was impossible 
to escape from the surrounding English, and therefore 
said to his captive, " You were my prisoner, sir, but for 
the present I shall be yours. Here is my sword, but should 
the English attack me, you must promise to return it to me, 
upon your word of honour." To this the Englishman 
assented, and just then his country's troops came up to 
make Bayard prisoner; but he, resuming his sword, de- 
fended himself so well, that no one cared to come near the 
sweep of his arm. At this moment some officers arrived, 
to whom it was left to decide whose prisoner Bayard should 
be, and who decided in favour of the gentleman to whom the 



70 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Chevalier had given his sword. So the brave knight sur- 
rendered himself and went to the English camp, where he 
remained for some days, until, desiring to depart, he asked 
permission of his captor to go. " That you can do," re- 
plied the Knight, " If you first pay your ransom." 

" Then, sir," replied the Chevalier, " your ransom must 
be paid first, and you will be of my opinion when you con- 
sider that if I was your prisoner, you have been mine also ; 
on that account, therefore, we owe nothing to each other. 
But if we cannot agree upon this point, let us leave it to the 
decision of the English officers." " I will do this," an- 
swered the Knight. So they submitted it to the other 
gentlemen in command, who determined in favour of the 
lion-hearted Bayard, and allowed him to leave the camp 
as rich as when he came. 

Thus the good Chevalier was permitted to return to his 
own command, where he was received with rejoicing by 
his troops, who idolized their brave and courteous leader. 
This episode heightened his fame which was great at this 
time, but did not reach its full splendour until the rule of 
Francis the first, successor to Charles the Eighth, and a 
man of strength and tenacity of purpose. This m.onarch 
levied a powerful army for the invasion of Italy, and ad- 
vanced to the Alps in order to cross into the rich and pros- 
perous country which lay before him. But he was met by 
the Italians and hardy Swiss at Marignano, where a furi- 
ous battle was fought. The Swiss — unable to drive the 
French from their batteries — attacked that portion of the 
French army which the King commanded, and here raged 
a sanguinary contest. Che\'alier Bayard — who was in the 
thick of the fight — had his horse killed under him, and, 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 71 

mounting another, returned to the battle, only to rush into 
the oncoming battahons of the enemy. His charger re- 
ceived many wounds; broke his reins, and galloped off 
with him in the direction of the French army; where he 
would surely have been captured, had he not been stopped 
by a strong fence, — a fact which allowed his courageous 
rider to dismount, throw away his arms, creep along a 
ditch to his own lines, and so escape that capture which 
surely had menaced him. 

Next day the armies rested and Francis bestowed the 
order of knighthood upon the good Chevalier Bayard. He 
called him before all of his officers, and said, '* By this 
hand I create thee one of my knights, let no man envy you 
your distinction, since none is more worthy of it than you." 
But Bayard saw himself preferred above many princes and 
great captains, and therefore answered, " I feel, your 
Royal Highness, that I am unworthy of so great an hon- 
our." To which the King replied, " I have weighed the 
matter in my mind and I must be obeyed." So Bayard 
knelt down ; drew his sword from his scabbard ; and pre- 
sented it to the King ; who smote him upon the shoulders 
saying, " Rise, knight." The Chevalier rose, took his 
sword in his hand, and looking at it, cried, in a loud voice, 
" How glorious have you been to have assisted in my 
knighting from the greatest monarch in the world. For 
the future I shall look upon you as a consecrated relic, and 
shall never use you except against the enemies of the 
Church." 

Some time after this Bayard defended the town of 
Meziers against a much superior force. The leader of the 
attacking party sent a trumpet to the Chevalier, summoning 



72 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

him to surrender upon honourable terms, but to this he 
received the answer, " That he would defend the charge 
committed to his care whilst he had a sword by his side 
and a hand to draw it from the scabbard." So the siege 
immediately began, and lasted a month, at the end of 
which the besiegers became convinced that the town could 
not be subdued with Bayard inside, and so withdrew. 
" Why, with an army of forty thousand men and an hun- 
dred pieces of cannon, could you not take that small pigeon 
house?" the leader of the retreating troops was asked, 
a short time afterwards. " Because," he replied, " it was 
defended by an eagle and his young ones, who were more 
to be feared than the eagles of the Empire." 

This well illustrates the respect in which Bayard was 
held by his enemies, but these were, at last, to bring his 
noble life to a close. The French army was at a place called 
Ravisingua, where a sharp fight was in progress with 
troops led by those hostile to the King, when the leader of 
the men of France became disabled by a wound, and so 
intrusted the chief command to Bayard. Like a torrent, 
the brave Chevalier fell upon some platoons of musketeers 
in his front, and such was the fury of his attack that they 
broke before him. When in the forefront of battle he was 
suddenly hit by a musket ball which wounded him so 
desperately that he reeled in his saddle. " I am killed," 
he said. " O Lord have mercy on me." And while he 
repeated these words, he kissed the handle of his sword — 
which was in the form of a crucifix — and then fell to the 
ground. Some soldiers placed him against the foot of a 
tree with his face to the enemy, for he told them to so leave 
him. " For whilst I live," he said, " I never turned my 



CHEVALIER BAYARD 73 

back against any man, nor will I do it now, when I am 
dying." His old friends and companions gathered about 
him, weeping, but he spoke to them and said, " Weep not, 
for I die in the bed of honour. I have lived long enough. 
The only thing that distresses me is that I can no longer 
serve my Prince." Shortly after this, he breathed his last, 
and a noble and chivalrous knight had ceased to battle for 
France and the King. 

When Francis heard of his death he was so deeply 
afflicted that he wept, and, after a bitter defeat which was 
soon administered to his army, was often heard to say, 
" O that Bayard had only been with me, then I would not 
have lost the fight." All ranks of men hastened to meet 
the remains of the Chevalier, as they were carried through 
the French provinces to his final, resting place, and with 
tears and many protestations of affection, paid the last, 
sad honours to this exalted warrior. Doubtless he was the 
most distinguished character of the age in which he lived, 
for he was prudent, gallant, enterprising, and courageous. 
He was cool in council, but impetuous and brave in battle ; 
full of mercy to the vanquished foe, and steady and sin- 
cere in his affections. As his piety and temperance were 
chief among his virtues, he most justly deserved the sur- 
name of the Good Chevalier, Without Fear And Without 
Reproach. 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM : THE TROUBLESOME 

[1594— 1632] 

COUNT Pappenheim lived at a time when Germany 
was in a state of the greatest turmoil. Armed 
bodies of men marched from one end of the country 
to the other and terrified the inhabitants. Cities were 
sacked ; towns were despoiled of all their valuables ; and 
farms robbed of their grain and horses. People who 
wished to lead a peaceful existence were unable to do so 
because of lack of proper protection. It is a distressing 
period of history and one which bred men of rough and 
violent natures. 

For thirty years this condition of affairs existed, and for 
thirty years the soil of Germany was trampled with the 
feet of the contending armies. The struggle w^as not be- 
tween nations, but between men of different religious 
beliefs who spoke the same language and were often con- 
nected by blood. It was a war between Catholic and 
Protestant Germany; between those who favoured the 
Catholic religion and those who were of the Protestant 
belief. Those of one faith were marshalled under inde- 
pendent princes against those of another. These fought, 
not so much to preserve their position as political leaders, 
as to preserve their religious rights. 

When Charles the Fifth of Germany abdicated his throne, 
74 




GOTTFRIED HEINRICH, COUNT PAPPENHEIM 



1 THE li-V/ "iO'K 



TILDEN FOU OA IONS. 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 75 

the Empire was torn with the poUtical quarrels of princes 
who governed separate, German states. Three rehgious 
sects existed : The Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists. 
The believers in these different faiths were continually at 
odds. In vain the successors of Charles V attempted to 
reconcile the warring factions. Germany was in a turmoil 
and war was the inevitable outcome. 

But there was peace until the death of Emperor Matthias 
in 1619. His successor, Ferdinand II, was a bigoted 
Prince, a staunch adherent to the Catholic faith, and an 
enemy to every man who differed from him in religion. 
So harsh was he to the Protestants that he forbade them 
from having meetings, demolished their places of worship, 
appointed only Catholics as magistrates, and inflicted 
every known cruelty upon those who refused to accept the 
Roman Catholic faith. 

This monarch was hereditary ruler of Bohemia ; a king- 
dom of Germany, separated from the adjoining states by 
high mountains and peopled for the most part by Prot- 
estants. The Bohemians were particularly hostile to the 
dictation of Ferdinand, and became so incensed by his 
high-handed treatment of them, that they chose another 
ruler : Frederick V, son-in-law of James I of England, 
and father of the gallant Prince Rupert. The newly elected 
sovereign hoped to be assisted by British power, but this 
was not to be. James of England was too timid to send 
him aid and the result was that he was driven out of 
Bohemia by the imperial army. The battle of Prague 
(1620) decided his fate, and, forced to fly to Sweden as a 
fugitive, his possessions were given to the Duke of Ba- 
varia. 



76 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Now followed a persecution of the Protestants that was 
most cruel and unrelenting. Those of this faith who had 
the misfortune to live in Bohemia were driven from their 
homes. Protestants of every rank, age, and condition were 
refused legal justice and were put to death, while ministers 
and teachers were either burned or beheaded. Was it a 
wonder that the Protestant princes of Germany arrayed 
themselves against the Emperor? They rallied under the 
leadership of Christian, King of Denmark, resolved to 
curb the power of the Catholic King and win back some 
of the rights, liberties, and possessions that they had lost. 
The Emperor Ferdinand was financially crippled and in no 
condition to meet this powerful confederation. 

A great noble of Bohemia, Wallenstein by name, offered 
to lend him his aid. Rich, powerful, and ambitious, he 
soon raised an immense army, composed of outlaws, 
robbers and adventurers from all nationalities. With this 
lawless following, he advanced against the Protestant 
forces. Villages and towns which lay in the path of his 
rough followers were forced to pay tribute to him. His 
men lived on the land and satisfied their hunger by rob- 
bery and plunder. They were reckless, wild and sav- 
age. 

About this period the name of Count Pappenheim begins 
to grow prominent in the records of the fighting, and from 
now on he was in the thick of the numerous passages at 
arms which occurred between the different bodies of 
troops. He was about twenty-six years of age, having been 
born on May the twenty-ninth, 1594. He had been a wild 
and reckless youth, full of vitality and courage ; had con- 
tinually neglected his studies, and although sent by his 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 77 

parents to the High Schools at Altdorf and Tubingen, did 
not seem to profit much by the instruction which he was 
supposed to receive. In fact he far preferred hunting; 
shooting ; and horse-back riding to liis books, and became 
physically sound and well-muscled, to the neglect of his 
mental training. Perhaps this was just as well, for his 
short life was to be one in which his strong physique and 
iron nerve were to be of far greater advantage than mental 
proficiency. 

At twenty years of age young Pappenheim joined the 
Roman Catholic Church and became a most zealous ad- 
herent to the cause of his religion. His taste for military 
life soon led him to enlist under the banner of King Sigis- 
mund of Poland, and later under that of Maximilian, 
Duke of Bavaria : the head of the Catholic League. He 
showed such an aptitude for hard work and such a love 
for his profession, that he was quickly promoted to the 
position of Colonel of Cavalry, — a place which he filled 
with the greatest success. He was tremendously popular 
with his men, who saw in him a soldier who would undergo 
every hardship which they themselves had to stand ; who 
would live in the open and sleep under his own horse, if 
necessary. This made his troop a favourite one, and one 
which the soldiers were glad to join. There was no diffi- 
culty in finding recruits for service under young Pappen- 
heim. 

When Ferdinand marched to battle with Frederick, 
(the Protestant King of Bohemia) and met him near the 
town of Prague; Pappenheim was in the army of the 
Catholic King. We have seen that Frederick was de- 
feated and that his country soon fell into the power of the 



78 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Catholics, yet he put up a good fight for his kingdom and 
there were many left dead upon that bloody field. 

Pappenheim's horsemen were in the thick of the battle 
and showed such dash and bravery that they made a name 
for themselves. Kept in reserve for a portion of the time, 
they were eventually hurled against the line of Protestant 
troops, just as they broke and began to retreat. With a 
wild cheer the squadrons of cavalry plunged into the fray 
and cut down some of the fugitives with their broad- 
swords. But they were not to have everything their own 
way and were soon met with a counter-charge on the part 
of the cavalry under Frederick. The fighting was severe, 
— so severe that a portion of the Pappenheimers gave way 
and retreated. 

This infuriated their brave leader beyond measure, 
and, seizing the colours, he rode into the open, calling upon 
them to follow. The men rallied, came back, and rushed 
once more into the fray ; only to be again beaten off. Pap- 
penheim now showed that bull-dog tenacity which made 
him famous. He re-formed his shattered battalions, 
galloped to the front of the line, and charged with all the 
impetuosity of his fiery nature. This time he was suc- 
cessful. The enemy broke before the onslaught and fled 
across the plain. Pappenheim, himself, was struck by a 
musket ball and severely gashed by a sword-thrust. He 
fell beneath his horse and became insensible. 

His horse was prostrated by a missile and lurched to the 
ground, rolling partly upon the seemingly lifeless body of 
the cavalryman. There they lay for many hours while the 
Pappenheimers were pursuing the stampeded troops of 
King Frederick through the streets of Prague. The 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 79 

gallant Colonel lay upon the battle-field for a long time, 
but at length he was discovered by one of his men who was 
returning from the chase of fugitive Protestants. He was 
carried to a house, revived by stimulants, and eventually 
nursed back into health and strength. 

This taste of warfare had given him such a love for the 
game that he was soon in search of further employment 
in his chosen profession. There was war at this time in 
Italy between the Spaniards and Italians, so Pappenheim 
eagerly sought an opportunity to distinguish himself. 
He was offered the command of a regiment of Cuirassiers 
allied to the Spanish troops, and with these he spent two 
years of vigorous campaigning on the plains of Lombardy. 
So successful was he that his men became famous. They 
were called The Pappenheimers, and were known as the 
most fearless and aggressive band among the Spanish 
fighters. They were supposed to be fed by the army com- 
mander, but this was done so badly that plunder was the 
only means of gaining enough food to keep in good physical 
condition. Their pay was also small and irregular. No 
wonder, then, that the troopers stole and robbed when- 
ever they could, and thus became a terror to the peaceful 
inhabitants of the lands through which they travelled. 

These Cuirassiers were mounted on hardy horses ; were 
armed with a sword and two pistols ; and wore a helmet of 
considerable thickness upon their heads. Their chests 
and backs were protected by steel plates. They were 
trained to gallop at full speed upon the enemy ; fire their 
pistols when close enough to do damage ; and then to draw 
sabre and charge. There were eight companies of one 
hundred men each in Pappenheim's regiment; or eight 



80 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

hundred in all, and they were of various nationalities: 
Croats; Poles; Germans and a few Spaniards. Every 
man was physically strong and nearly all were of a reck- 
less disposition. Pappenheim, himself, was a strict dis- 
ciplinarian and insisted on certain rules of conduct; but 
he had a difficult time in restraining his wild followers, 
who joined his troop because they liked him and recog- 
nized a leader who had the same love for fight that they 
themselves possessed. 

In 1626 Pappenheim was recalled to Germany by Duke 
Maximilian of Austria, — who was a staunch Catholic 
and adherent to the reigning King of Germany. A revolt 
of the peasants had followed certain edicts of his, and he 
felt that in Pappenheim he could find a leader who could 
wage a successful campaign against these erring subjects. 
Ever ready for fighting, this offer was gladly accepted by 
the Count, and he immediately prepared for action. 
Gathering together a small army, he marched into the 
country of the hostile peasants and brought fire and sword 
to their very hearths. In a month's time he had entirely 
subdued the refractory subjects and won a long series of 
victories. Forty thousand peasants are said to have been 
killed in this campaign. A terrible record of slaughter, 
indeed ! But these were fierce times when religious dif- 
ferences seemed to stir men's hearts with a vindictive 
hatred for one another. Warfare to-day is never carried on 
with such disregard for the rights and property of others. 
In those times men were cruel, savage, and absolutely 
selfish. They pillaged and murdered with no thought of 
the suffering which they administered upon the defence- 
less persons. It is terrible to read of the needless slaughter 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 81 

which occurred ; yet the German leaders seemed to think 
such measures necessary for their success, and turned a 
deaf ear to the cries of mercy which they heard on all sides. 

The Emperor of Germany was blinded by the success of 
his arms. His generals were everywhere victorious and 
Christian IV of Denmark, who, as we have said, came to 
the aid of the Protestant Princes ; had retired. It looked 
as if the Catholic cause would be triumphant, but here a 
heroic figure came upon the scene. This was Gustavus 
Adolphus of Sweden, — The Lion of the North. Cham- 
pioning the Protestant religion and allying himself with 
the German Princes of the Protestant faith, he swept down 
upon the interior of Germany with a small army of ex- 
cellently well trained soldiers. He, himself, had a noble 
character, and was respected by all. His soldiers were 
moral, God fearing men, and quite different from the rough 
following of Wallenstein and Tilly, — an old commander 
of well-tried courage who led an army for the Emperor of 
Germany. 

Pappenheim — with his cavalry — was now allied to the 
aged Tilly, and with him attempted to stem the advance 
of the victorious Swedes. His force was enlarged by the 
addition of several thousand foot, until he commanded a 
small army of seventeen thousand men. With these he 
surrounded and captured the Duke of Lauenburg, — com- 
mander of a Protestant force — and then marched north- 
ward to lay siege to the city of Magdeburg, the most pros- 
perous town of Northern Germany : one of the richest and 
most populous. It had been well fortified by Falkenburg, 
whom Gustavus Adolphus had sent there, and this com- 
mander-in-chief defied the courageous Pappenheim when 



82 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he demanded its surrender. For several months he cor- 
responded with the stout defender and tried to win the 
city council back to the side of the Cathohcs. But Falken- 
burg was loyal to Gustavus Adolphus, although a number 
of the more influential citizens begged him to give up the 
town without a defence. He had twenty-five hundred 
men and some citizen militia to man his works, which were 
strong. He laboured continually to make these stronger 
and threw up some high mounds of earth on either side 
of the river. These were mounted with cannon and were 
quite formidable. Relying on his ability to hold out until 
Gustavus Adolphus should come to his relief, he defied 
the impulsive Pappenheim and sent his ambassadors away 
with disdain. 

The siege of this place was long and tedious; quite 
galling indeed to Pappenheim, who was of a fiery and im- 
pulsive disposition. Tilly had left him to blockade it 
while he marched to intercept Gustavus Adolphus and to 
delay his progress towards the relief of the town. But the 
Lion of the North was impeded in his advance by the 
Electors of the Provinces through which he had to pass, 
so Tilly turned against the ill-fated Magdeburg, bound to 
break through the very walls themselves and give the 
stubborn people a taste of his strength. 

The part which Pappenheim played in this siege shows 
him to have been a man of the greatest force and courage. 
He was indefatigable in his attack on the defences. Some 
of these soon fell before his storming parties. The three 
earthen mounds on the river were taken ; the inner earth- 
works were captured ; and five hundred of the defenders 
lay dead in the debris. Pappenheim exposed himself in 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 83 

the firing line repeatedly and led many of the attacks him- 
self, but he seemed to have borne a charmed life and to be 
reserved for death at some other moment. His fiery 
courage inspired his men to deeds of the greatest bravery. 
They were a rough lot and it was rough work, but they 
were led by fearless men, and out-numbered the garrison 
by tremendous odds. There were twenty-five thousand 
men around the walls of Magdeburg and but two thous- 
and five hundred defenders. The citizens began to despair 
when they lost the outer-defences, but they trusted to 
relief from Gustavus and kept on with a stout resis- 
tance. 

Now Falkenburg was forced to burn the suburbs of the 
town in order to properly defend it. Pappenheim pushed 
him close and made tunnels and trenches in the ground 
which reached to the walls of the defences. Neustadt, a 
suburb, was abandoned by the citizens, and the garrison 
withdrew to the inner fortifications of the city. Magde- 
burg was doomed. 

Heavy guns were brought to bear upon the walls and 
burning shot was hurled into the town. A sharp fire drove 
the defenders from the ramparts, while the indefatigable 
Pappenheim pushed his ditches under the very walls them- 
selves. No one worked with greater zeal than he. He 
even seized a spade and pick, himself, and assisted his men 
in cutting through the earth. The cavalryman was now 
an infantryman. He was apparently inspired with the 
most tremendous zeal to capture the town. He was dirty, 
grimy with the powder, and singed with burning fuses, 
yet he enjoyed the aft'air as much as a game of racquets 
or polo. Like Jeb Stuart and Prince Rupert, this German 



84 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

officer loved the sound of battle and was happiest when in 
action. 

Breaches were now opened in the walls and one of the 
largest towers was demolished. Pappenheim tore out the 
palisades, placed several hundred ladders against one of 
the bastions, and prepared a party to scale the wall next 
day. The citizens fought with stubborn energy, fired hot 
balls upon the heads of the Imperialists, and endeavoured 
to rebuild the ramparts when they were torn down. But 
their powder began to get low ; a number of their cannon 
exploded; and they realized that help from Gustavus 
Adolphus was far off. In this predicament a truce was 
declared, and a herald was sent from Tilly's army to treat 
with Falkenburg for the town's surrender. The troops 
were drawn off to a distance, and, as the siege guns were 
moved to the rear, the townsmen thought that perhaps 
Gustavus Adolphus was approaching. But this was not 
the case. At a council of war it was decided to storm the 
battlement next morn, at daybreak, for then the towns- 
people would be less active than at any other time, and, 
for the most part, asleep from the exhausting labours of the 
defence. To Pappenheim was to be entrusted the first 
attack and he was well informed where to find the weakest 
part of the wall, for Catholics within the town kept Tilly 
well posted as to the condition of affairs and secretly told 
him where to discover the least defence. 

At daybreak — when most of the officers of guard were 
at a council debating whether or not to accept the 
demands of the Imperialist Commander, Pappenheim led 
the assault at two points on the wall. His men found a 
weak defence, pushed their way into the town itself, and 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 85 

were soon cutting down the defenders in the streets, Falk- 
enburg rushed from the council chamber with his officers, 
plunged into the fray and, for a time, stemmed the advance. 
But he was quickly disabled. Pappenheim's followers 
swarmed over the ramparts ; opened the gates so that the 
rest of the army could get in ; and soon all was over with 
Magdeburg. The city was given up to plunder and de- 
bauchery. Every soul within was massacred and the once 
prosperous community was burned to the ground. A 
great cathedral alone escaped to mark the wreck of the 
famous city. 

What part Pappenheim took in the sacking of Magde- 
burg is not clear. We know that he did not set his face 
against the pillaging, nor did he apparendy endeavour to 
stop it. To him was mainly due the fall of the fortress and 
there is no doubt that he felt justified in having his own 
share of the plunder, for these were rough times ; the sol- 
diers were rough men ; and it would have been well nigh 
impossible to stop them from robbing the town. Pappen- 
heim was not noted for the same purity of character that 
Gustavus Adolphus possessed, although he was equally 
great as a cavalryman and possessed a courage in battle 
quite similar to that of the great Swede. They were soon 
to meet in battle and a test of the relative strength of the 
armies under Tilly and under the Swedish King was to 
prove that the Northern Protestant fought with a courage 
quite equal to that of the Imperialists. 

Tilly and Pappenheim now advanced north to Leipsic. 
Their progress was marked by fire and sword, for the wild 
soldiers under their command pillaged and burnt wher- 
ever they went. Telling the Elector that if he did not de- 



86 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

liver the city to him it would suffer the same fate as Magde- 
burg, Tilly sat down before the gates and waited. In two 
days' time it was surrendered and the victorious troops 
marched inside. But the stay was to be short, for soon 
Gustavus Adolphus approached with his army, eager to 
avenge the sack of Magdeburg. So Tilly marched out 
to battle with him. They met on the fields to the north of 
the town, at Breitenfeld. The impulsive Pappenheim 
w^as on the left of Tilly's line, and was now in charge of his 
famous cavalry, which, mounted for the most part on black 
chargers, made a gallant display. They were eager for 
the fray, — too eager, in fact, for they had never lost a 
great batde. Pappenheim, himself, chafed at all delay 
and besought the more stohd Tilly to make an immediate 
attack and to break the spirit of the Protestants by defeat- 
ing them in battle. The Catholic army was in a single 
line with twenty-six guns in the centre. The men were 
confident of success; had bound white handkerchiefs 
about their hats; and opened the hostilities with loud 
cheers for " Old Father Tilly," as their gray-haired Gen- 
eral-in-chief rode down the line. 

There was some skirmishing, as the Swedes came for- 
ward to the attack. The whole army wore green branches 
in their hats and the pass- word was " God is with us ! " 
Gustavus Adolphus checked the advance in order to 
make sure that all was ready, while his artillery played 
upon the Imperialist line. Pappenheim's cuirassiers chafed 
under this fire and eagerly waited for word to attack. But 
Tilly was cautious and did not send it. Pappenheun, 
himself, grew so impatient that he could wait no longer. 
He gave the order to charge. 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 87 

With colours flying and with the bright sun glistening 
from their steel trappings, his five thousand horse thun- 
dered down upon the Swedish right. It was the greatest 
division of cavalry then in existence and compared favour- 
ably with the columns of Napoleon. They galloped across 
the open plain, fired their pistols into the opposing line, 
and then charged, hoping to break the Swedish formations 
with solid steel. But this was not to be. The resolute 
followers of Gustavus Adolphus withstood their attacks 
with immense coolness; the horsemen were driven back. 
They re-formed and again charged. For a second time 
they were repulsed. Again they attacked, and were re- 
pulsed. They charged seven times. Then, as the impul- 
sive Pappenheim rallied for a final onslaught, they were set 
upon by the Swedish cavalry. So furious was the counter 
stroke that the once invincible cuirassiers broke and fled 
precipitously. Their gallant leader was himself borne back 
in the melee and carried along in the rush of fugitives. He 
had suffered his first reverse. 

Tilly's cavalry on the right flank had better success. 
They stampeded the Saxon allies of the Swedish King and 
broke them to bits. Old Tilly, himself, now rushed to the 
attack, but he was to meet his match. Before the sun sank 
his own cannon had been turned upon his men and they 
were broken in dispirited rout towards Leipsic and Halle. 
As the sun sank, Gustavus Adolphus knelt on the ground 
and offered up a prayer of thanksgiving to Heaven, for the 
Protestant cause had triumphed in the first clash of arms. 

From this battle to the great struggle at Liitzen the army 
of the Swedish King had one series of successes. Tilly 
was badly shattered, both in nerve and in physique. 



88 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Pappenheim joined him shortly after Breitenfeld, 
gathered together the remnants of the army, and retreated 
south. Subsequently they separated and the gallant Count 
waged successful warfare against Tott, the ally of Adol- 
phus, until compelled to retreat before heavy reinforce- 
ments into Westphalia. Here he waited until called to join 
Wallenstein, — now head of the Imperialist army in place 
of the gallant Tilly, who had died from wounds in bat- 
de. 

The crafty Wallenstein had fought one bloody battle 
with Gustavus Adolphus, which had resulted in a victory 
for neither side. He had repeatedly refused to join in con- 
flict, although personally challenged by the Swedish King. 
But eventually he had to fight. He had put off a passage 
at arms as long as he could, and his men were eager to test 
their strength with the northern conquerors. Pappenheim, 
himself, had repeatedly skirmished with Swedish detach- 
ments and had defeated them conclusively. Not one of the 
lieutenants of Adolphus seemed to be able to withstand 
his fiery impetuosity and valour. At Hildesheim he com- 
pletely overthrew a well-tried Lieutenant of the Swedish 
army and captured the town. The Swedes retreated to- 
wards the lines of Gustavus Adolphus, and Pappenheim : 
the troublesome, was left in possession of the large and 
fertile region on which his rough followers levied tribute. 

After much marching and counter-marching, Wallenstein 
finally took up a position on the field of Liitzen. It was 
near Leipsic — on the highway leading to the town — and 
behind the sides of this road his men found a ready-made 
embankment. Pappenheim was not with him, but was 
warned of the impending conflict by a messenger. He 



COUNT PAPPENHEIM 89 

hastened towards the field of battle, but savage fighting 
commenced long before his arrival. 

The Swedes first attacked and broke the left flank of the 
Imperialists. They were equally successful on the right, 
— but in the centre things did not go so well with them. 
A charge of cavalry shattered the line and the soldiers fell 
back in confusion. There was a dense fog over the batde- 
field which hid the confusion of the rout. But eventually 
Gustavus Adolphus saw the misfortune, and, at the head 
of some cavalry, dashed in to lead his men. He was shot 
through the body and killed, while his frightened horse 
galloped back into his own line. 

Count Pappenheim had been hurrying to the scene of 
conflict and arrived with a portion of his command. He 
had come on the double-quick and came up just as the 
centre was in confusion. With a column of eight cavalry 
regiments — about six thousand men — he charged tumul- 
tuously upon the Swedish right wing. Up to now the 
troops had been victorious and were pushing everything 
before their line. But this tremendous charge broke them 
into bits. They turned and fled to their first position, 
while some fought steadily and kept the retreat from being 
an entire rout. The Swedish cannon hurled solid shot 
into the advancing horsemen. 

Count Pappenheim — ablaze with the excitement of 
battle — was personally leading his men. He was in the 
thick of the fighting, sword in hand, and courageously 
galloping ahead of the line. But this, too, was to be his 
last fight. When the riderless horse of the great Swedish 
King was bearing the sad intelligence of his death to his 
faithful men, Pappenheim received a mortal wound. He 



90 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

fell from his horse and was crushed in the press of galloping 
squadrons. Then he was discovered, and his retainers 
bore him tenderly from the field. This broke their attack. 
They hesitated, fell back, and the day was lost for the Im- 
perialists. When night closed in upon the scene of blood- 
shed, two of the greatest fighting men in history were no 
more. 

So died Count Pappenheim: the Troublesome: — 
rough soldier of a rough age. He was rapacious ; crude ; 
fiery ; and impulsive, — a creature of the times. His 
followers loved him, for they were rougher than he and 
had not his intellect. His enemies feared him, for they 
appreciated his fiery zeal. His name justly deserves a 
position among the giants of this great religious struggle, 
and although he waged war with relentless heartlessness, 
he was a leader of cavalry of the first rank. 




GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 



THE i;„v/ 'lorjc 
. BLTC LIBRARY 



A -O--, L -OX *^D 

TILDFN Fo-i D^ IONS. 

C L. 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS : THE LION OF 
THE NORTH 

[1594— 1632] 

GREAT military movements have been brought 
about in the world's history by many causes; 
through love of glory and renown by a single, 
powerful individual ; through the desire for conquest by an 
ambitious nation ; and through the unrest bred by religious 
upheavals and disturbances. The Thirty Years' War, 
which turned Germany into an armed camp and laid waste 
to thousands of happy homes ; was because of differences 
in religious beliefs ; and among those who fought and bled 
for the cause which they considered to be just ; Gustavus 
Adolphus — The Lion of the North — had by far the 
the most brilliant and interesting career. He was King of 
Sweden; leader of the Protestant forces in the great 
religious struggle in Germany ; and — with Wallenstein, 
Tilly, and Pappenheim — the most prominent General 
who fought in the fierce contests which ravaged Europe, 
from the North Sea to the waters of the Danube. 

Gustavus Adolphus was a Swede — the son of King 
Charles IX — a practical but, by no means, brilliant man, 
who ruled over rude and ignorant people, as stout and 
loyal in their allegiance to their sovereign as could be 
wished. They were earnest, deeply religious, and hard 
91 



92 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

working. They lived in a cold climate where the winters 
were hard and severe, so that the struggle for existence 
required strict attention to their daily labour; and they 
thus possessed strong and hardy bodies which soon be- 
came used to danger and fatigue when employed as sol- 
diers in the army. 

One day the young Prince Gustavus was walking with 
his nurse, in the wood. 

" Do not go into the forest," she said to her charge, " for 
there are tremendously big snakes there, and they will 
attack and sting you." 

But this did not seem to alarm the future sovereign. 

" Just give me a big stick," he said, " and I will soon 
kill all of them." 

This incident showed him to have a courage that was 
always remarkable — even in early youth — and a desire 
for conflict, that future years were to give him plenty of 
opportunity to gratify. 

He was a diligent student, and, as his education was 
carefully guarded by his father and mother, he received 
every advantage that money could give. Under John 
Skytte ; a clerk of the Supreme Court ; and two German 
travellers who had temporarily sought situations at the 
Swedish palace ; he was instructed in art ; literature ; the 
languages; and fencing. He was taught horse-back rid- 
ing ; he was shown how to jump his steed over obstacles ; 
and was exercised in boxing and swimming lessons. It is 
said that he was unexcelled in gymnastic sports, and could 
even do that difficult feat, the giant swing; which only 
those of most lithe and supple muscles can accomplish. 
He could run fairly fast, was a good wrestler, and, al- 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 93 

though of an exceedingly quick temper, in after years he 
learned the rare virtue of self control. 

As was customary with the rules of court; there were 
reviews of the vessels composing the Swedish fleet, and 
upon one occasion he was taken to see the wooden vessels, 
as they were watched by his father — the King — and all 
the court. An officer of some rank asked him which ship 
he preferred among those before them, and he replied, 

"Why, that one, over there." Pointing, at the same 
time, to a large vessel which headed the line. 

" And why do you choose that one. Your Royal High- 
ness? " asked the officer. 

" Because she has got the most guns," answered young 
Gustavus, with a laugh. 

And as the officer turned away, he remarked to a com- 
panion, 

"He is a true Vasa. Fond of war-like things, as he 
should be. It is well." 

So proficient did young Gustavus become in the lan- 
guages that he could express himself with considerable 
fluency in Greek ; Latin ; Dutch ; Italian ; Russian and 
Polish; and, of course, in the language of his country. 
He studied the art of military warfare; read deeply of 
Caesar's and Hannibal's campaigns; and carried one 
book, " The Rights of War and Peace," continually with 
him when he was in camp with the soldiers of the crown. 
Besides being a good student, he was a poet of considerable 
ability, and many of his poems upon religious subjects, are 
still sung in the churches of Sweden. 

The future leader of the Protestant armies of the North 
was eleven years of age when he entered the army, and he 



94 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

was soon busy with the routine and daily drill of a common 
soldier. He showed himself to be an excellent cadet, and 
quite eager to be allowed to participate in active cam- 
paigns. Because of the position which he was, one day, 
to assume ; he was allowed to sit at the meetings of the 
ministry ; and, through association with older heads than 
his own, learned much that was useful to him in after 
years. He was, even then, considered to have a wise head 
on his broadening shoulders; and was often allowed to 
add his word to those of the more aged counsellors. As 
Sweden was a small and unimportant country, it was beset 
by strong neighbours, upon every side. War was going on 
with Russia; the Danes were dreaded competitors in 
trade ahd commerce ; and the King of Poland was intent 
upon securing the crown of Sweden for himself. So there 
was much to discuss at the meetings of the Kmg's Cabinet 
and the training in statecraft was excellent for the young 
soldier. 

When Charles IX died, in 1611, Gustavus Adolphus 
was but seventeen years of age, and therefore could not 
legally ascend the throne, as he was too young, and the 
law stated that a King should be twenty-four at the time of 
his coronation. But so beset was Sweden by her enemies, 
and so necessary was it considered by the King's ministers 
that the youth should succeed his father ; that he was im- 
mediately crowned. The people of Sweden had little 
reason to regret this act, for he soon developed the most 
excellent ability as a leader, and brought far more glory to 
Sweden than it had ever had under his forefathers. He 
chose a young man as his prime minister, called Oxen- 
stiern, and he was of such a prudent, far-seeing, and calm 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 95 

disposition ; that he well guided the destinies of the father- 
land. 

The youthful King had great personal beauty and Lis 
strength was far above the average. He delighted in mili- 
tary Hfe, and, as a young man, showed that courage and 
hardihood for which he became famous. He was hard and 
strict in discipline and especially severe upon duelling. It is 
said that two officers came to him and requested that they 
be allowed to meet and settle their differences with the 
sword. He permitted them to come together, but attended 
the duel, himself, and said to the two soldiers, as, with 
sword in hand, they confronted each other : " Now, gentle- 
men, at it, and do not stop until one of you is killed ! You 
know my dislike for this practice and that I wish none of 
it to go on in the army. Moreover, I have the provost 
marshal at hand, who will immediately execute the one 
who remains alive ! " This was characteristic of his tem- 
perament, and in his first appearance upon the field of 
war — when the Swedish troops were batding with the 
Danes — he showed great coolness, and such a disregard 
for danger, that he frightened all who were associated with 
him. FrequenUy he would ride within firmg distance of 
the enemy and scan their position through a field-glass, 
while the bullets whizzed by him on every side. 

Gustavus was in charge of some forces in South-western 
Sweden, which were attempting to relieve the city of 
Kalmar — besieged by the Danes — when a letter fell 
into his hands, addressed to the Danish commander, by a 
general in charge of a detachment of the Danish army in 
Christianopel, and requesting that he dispatch five hun- 
dred horse to help him against the Swedes. With the 



96 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

quickness that always distinguished him, the Swedish 
King at once prepared to make use of this lucky accident. 
He immediately dressed five hundred Swedes in the uni- 
forms of Danish cavalrymen ; led them by a circuitous 
route to Christianopel ; and appeared before the walls in 
the early gray of the morning. 

" Who are you ? " asked the sentry from the battlement, 
as the cavalrymen w^ere seen through the mist. 

" The detachment of five hundred horse, which your 
commander has requested," replied Gustavus, in a loud 
voice, and in the Danish language. 

" Glad, indeed, are we to see you," repHed the sentry. 
" Wait, but a moment, and the gates will be opened to 
you." 

And in a few seconds, the massive doors of the fortress 
swung clear to the jubilant Swedes, who rushed furiously 
into the fortification and soon had taken all the garrison 
prisoners. 

Shortly afterwards this success was nearly counteracted 
by an accident which almost cost brave Gustavus his life. 
There was a battle with the Danes on the frozen surface 
of a lake, and the Swedish King was directing the move- 
ments of his troops on horseback. As the winters are 
severe and cold in Sweden, long marches were frequently 
made upon the frozen surfaces of the streams and lakes, 
while soldiers in the contending armies often had skir- 
mishes and fights upon the thick ice. Gustavus had his 
horse sharp- shod, so that he would stand up upon the 
surface of the lake, and was galloping to direct the 
planting of a battery ; when suddenly — and without 
warning — the ice gave way beneath his mount, and he 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 97 

was soon struggling in the chill water. He was sucked 
under the surface, but soon forced his way to a corner of 
the break, where he held on until rescued by his men. 
The horse, too, was saved from drowning, while the 
gallant commander did not seem to mind his wetting in 
the slightest. He laughed at the affair and, after he had 
put on a clean suit of clothes, thought no more upon the 
accident which near lost him his life. 

Before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in which 
Gustavus was to take such a prominent part, he was en- 
gaged in altercations with Poland (a country lying directly 
between Germany and Russia, and separated from Sweden 
by the Baltic Sea) and with Russia. During a two years' 
truce with the former country he transported an army to 
the present site of St. Petersburg, stormed a fortified city, 
called Pleskov, and reduced it to subjection. He then re- 
tired to his own land and succeeded in making a treaty 
which gave him a number of fortresses on Russian soil 
and also a considerable sum of money. His troops fought 
nobly in this campaign and exhibited good behaviour; 
obedience ; and a cheerful courage and discipline. Regu- 
lar morning and evening prayers were introduced by 
Gustavus, and he was the first man in Europe to have paid 
ministers, as Chaplains, with the army. Before every 
battle they prayed to Heaven that their success might be 
great, and, as the soldiers were all supplied with prayer 
books, they joined fervently in the service of God. The 
King, himself, took part in the religious exercise, and knelt 
upon the ground with his men. In this way his power with 
his troops became marked ; he infused them with the same 
spirit which he, himself, possessed ; and, as he was full of 



98 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

zeal and energy, his strong-bodied Swedes became imbued 
with the same force. It was often said in Eiiropfe, that, 
'* The Swedes do not defend their men with walls, but 
their walls with men," and this was a good tribute to the 
prowess of the Northern soldiers. They were big limbed, 
big fisted, and stout-hearted peasants, who feared no dan- 
ger or suffering. 

The Swedish cavalry, or cuirassiers, were mounted upon 
stout-bodied horses, and dressed in loose clothes of warm 
material; high hip boots; strong breast plates on the 
front and back of their bodies ; and a steel cap upon their 
heads. They were armed with a long sword and a brace 
of pistols. They rode in two or more lines ; and occasion- 
ally — when making a charge — in a single line. The 
King, himself, dressed in this fashion and frequently 
directed his own army in person, and exposed himself 
more recklessly than he should have done. The horsemen 
were placed upon the wings of the army ; the infantry and 
artillery in the centre; and, in some battles, lines of 
cavalry were placed behind the infantry columns in order 
to check the retreat of the soldiers, should they be thrown 
into confusion. Gustavus was, in reality, a general of both 
Infantry and Cavalry; but he appeared always upon a 
horse; was more attached to his horsemen than to his 
slow foot-soldiers, and, if he had not been King, would 
have undoubtedly been the hero of more daring cavalry 
raids than Marion, Jeb Stuart, Sheridan, Pappenheim, 
or any of the great cavalrymen of history. As a horseman 
he was known to all Europe, and as a General of such 
ability, that Wallenstein remarked, to the Emperor of 
Germany. " By all means help the Polish King to crush 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 99 

him, for he is a terrible man, more courageous than our 
own Pappenheim, and a worse foe than the Turks, upon 
our southern borders." 

After the successful conclusion of the campaign with 
Russia, Gustavus Adolphus started upon an invasion of 
Poland, for the Swedish Royal family had long had pre- 
tensions to the throne of that contry. So, placing an army 
of twenty- four thousand men in the holds of one hundred 
and fifty-eight vessels, he sailed across the Baltic ; landed 
at the mouth of the Dwina River; and soon besieged the 
rich and imposing city of Riga. The Swedish King took 
personal command of the siege operations against the 
town, directed the planting of the artillery and the digging 
of entrenchments, and appeared continually in the midst 
of his men. He infused in them his own enthusiasm and 
zeal, so that they worked with a vim to lay low the pride 
of the Polish city. Deep tunnels were made beneath the 
walls of the battlements, in several places, and these were 
filled with gunpowder, ready to be exploded at a given 
signal ; for Gustavus determined to wreck the walls in this 
manner, if the Mayor of Riga did not quickly capitulate 
to him. A relief army of ten thousand men marched to 
the neighbourhood of the doomed defenders, but this was 
easily defeated by Gustavus, and a part of the hostile 
forces were taken prisoners. So, at last, the garrison de- 
termined to surrender, for the artillery had been trained 
upon the town, and word had been sent that if the white 
flag were not raised b}^ a certain hour, the walls would be 
totally destroyed by the explosions of the mines, and bom- 
bardment by the siege guns. This was a great victory for 
the Swedish King ; it made him much feared by the Euro- 

^7 ^G ^ 



100 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

pean rulers ; and, as he shortly afterwards forced Danzig 
to declare itself a neutral port, the Ruler of Poland made 
peace with the powerful Monarch of Sweden. The war 
of conquests was temporarily at an end. 

Germany was torn with religious dissensions, at this time, 
and we have, to some extent, explained the causes of the 
beginnings of the Thirty Years' War, in the essay on 
Pappenheim. Gustavus Adolphus was a Protestant; his 
loyal subjects were Protestants; and he was heart and 
soul in favour of the Protestant cause in the religious strifes 
which turned Germany into an armed camp. At home 
the Swedish King was most popular. His people loved 
him ; his ministry never failed to sustain him ; and he had 
the hearty support of all classes of his subjects. He had 
never yet been defeated ; he was eager for further military 
distinction; and, as he heard of Wallenstein's successes 
as a general of the Catholic league, and of the bitter de- 
feats of the Protestant generals, his blood boiled to be in 
the midst of the hurly burly, and to be engaged in the fight 
for the religion of his country. But, before he joined in 
the religious war of Germany, he had grievances to settle 
with Poland ; for the truce which had been declared, after 
the attack upon Riga, had been broken by the Polish 
ruler : King Sigismund. So — with twenty thousand men 
— Gustavus sailed for the mouth of the Dwina River and 
had soon captured the towns lying in the provinces which 
lay upon the seacoast. 

It was now winter, and the soldiers were forced to march 
in freezing weather, which somewhat impeded their 
advance. The Swedish King — with true foresight — ■ 
had equipped his men with fur-lined; waterproof boots; 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 101 

oiled leather overcoats; and with thick stockings. They 
were warmly clad, and, like General Nelson A. Miles's 
troops in his campaigns against the Sioux, could fight in 
bitter weather with some degree of comfort. It was well 
that they were so supplied, for an army of thirty-six hun- 
dred cavalry and thirteen hundred foot, was soon marching 
to meet them, bent upon their defeat. But this did not 
terrify the brave Gustavus Adolphus. On the other hand, 
he welcomed the opportunity to again engage in battle; 
and so — although he had few cavalrymen — he marched 
to meet the enemy, with full confidence in his ability to 
defeat this formidable array of military men. The two 
armies met at Walhof, January i6th, 1626, and the King 
of Sweden administered a severe and crushing defeat to the 
Poles; who lost sixteen hundred men and much of their 
baggage and artillery. They retreated in great confusion 
and Gustavus pressed forward to the town of Boizen, 
which he took with ease; and captured sufficient stores 
to feed his now hungry men, upon. He demanded peace 

— but peace was not to be had — so, leaving enough 
troops to hold what he had won, he sailed for Stockholm 
to get a new army and better equipment. 

Returning with twenty-six thousand men on one hundred 
and fifty ships; he landed at the fortress of Pillan, and, 
when the Elector of Brandenburg — who owned the place 

— expostulated with him for seizing what was not his, 
Gustavus replied : " I am av/are that you prefer to keep 
a middle course and not join either side, in this affair, but 
you must either hold on to me, or to Poland. I am your 
brother Protestant and have married a Brandenburg 
Princess. I will fight for you and defend this city of yours. 



102 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

I have good Engineers and know a lot about the art of 
sacking towns. I shall defend this place against all Poland 
— or the devil, himself. My men, as you see, are poor, 
Swedish peasants louts, dirty and ill-clad; but they deal 
you lusty blows, and shall soon be given finer clothing 
which they will capture from their enemies." So the 
Elector of Brandenburg said no more. 

Gustavus Adolphus now advanced towards the South; 
seized all the towns which lay in his path ; and marched 
upon Danzig ; which was so well fortified that the Swedish 
King wished to reconnoitre. He went out upon the river in 
a boat — in order to more closely inspect the works — and 
while looking at the fortifications through a glass, was shot 
upon by a Polish soldier and severely wounded in the hip. 
Just before this, he had been almost captured by two 
Polish horsemen, who had caught him unawares, and when 
far away from his escort, while, a week before, he had been 
cut in the leg, when on a cavalry skirmish. So venture- 
some was he that he constantly placed himself in positions 
of peril, and when his Prime Minister expostulated with 
him for his want of care, he rephed : " Alexander the Great 
told his men that they must despise all danger. What 
better fate could befall me than to die doing my duty as 
King, in which place it has pleased heaven to set me." 

The bullet which struck the King made a slight wound, 
but a few days later, he received another shot which nearly 
incapacitated him from further service. A Polish General 
of Cavalry drew near to relieve Danzig, and Gustavus 
headed a charge of his own cavalrymen, which drove back 
the Polish horse through a village held by the artillery and 
infantry. While riding to inspect some batteries which he 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 103 

had placed upon a hill, he was again hit by a bullet, which 
tore through his right shoulder, near the neck, and knocked 
him from his horse. He was carried back to his own lines 
and was placed upon a cot-bed in his tent, where a phy- 
sician soon extracted the ball; but Gustavus could not 
lead his own army for some time thereafter. 

The siege of Danzig dragged slowly onward, while a 
Polish army under Koniezpolski marched upon the town 
in the endeavour to. break up the siege operations of the 
Swedish King. Seeing that the approach should be stopped ; 
Gustavus sent a large cavalry force to watch the Poles, 
and to impede the operations as much as it could ; but the 
detachment was ambuscaded by a squadron twice its size, 
and, although the Swedes cut their way out, it was only 
after they had lost a great portion of their troops. Then 
the Polish force hung upon the outskirts of the Swedish 
army and impeded the siege operations as much as possible, 
until Gustavus — irritated by these attacks — determined 
to deal this enemy a severe blow. So, leaving a portion of 
his own men to continue the siege of Danzig, he marched 
upon the Poles and met them not far from his own camp. 
There was a furious battle, but Gustavus won and cap- 
tured three thousand men ; four guns ; and fourteen flags, 
while the defeated troops retreated in confusion down the 
river Vistula. It was a glorious victory, and one that made 
his reputation as a soldier greater than ever before. It 
would have settled the fate of Danzig, had not an extraor- 
dinary flood occurred, which so inundated the country, 
tliat the Swedes were unable to remain within their forti- 
fications and had to give up the siege. 

But Gustavus was not downcast by this failure and con- 



104 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

tinued his active campaign against the Poles with the same 
perseverance as before. So successful was he, that he soon 
had whipped his opponents to a point where they were 
eager for peace, and, as France now intervened to stop 
hostilities, a six years' truce was declared, under the terms 
of which, Gustavus was to hold all that he had captured. 
The Swedish army had learned much from this campaign : 
it had been taught to put implicit confidence in its leader 
and King, Gustavus Adolphus, and it had been shown 
how to fight and march with speed. Wallenstein and 
Ferdinand — the General-in-chief and King of Catholic 
Germany — looked askance, but with arrogance, at the 
success of Gustavus, who had been asked to march into 
Germany in aid of those who championed the Protestant 
Cause. "So we have got a little enemy, have we?" 
Ferdinand remarked; and Wallenstein replied: " If that 
conceited Northerner shows his face in Germany, and 
attempts to do aught, I shall drive him — whom men call 
the Snow King — from our land, so badly whipped, that 
he will rue the day he ever put foot within our border." 
But the Swedish King now listened to the prayers of the 
Protestant, German Princes with a willing ear, and, at 
last determined to march to their assistance in the struggle 
with Ferdinand and Wallenstein ; the rapacious and greedy. 
For twelve years the war between the Protestants and 
Catholics had waged in Germany, and the entire country 
had been overrun by the forces of King Ferdinand; the 
Catholic King. The Protestants were disunited and 
broken: their armies had been so beaten and dispersed, 
that there was little resistance to the power of the Crown. 
Gustavus Adolphus was to champion a wrecked cause, 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 105 

and one that was to receive no aid from France, Austria, 
or Russia. His motives were most worthy ones: he 
had no personal ambitions, and proposed merely to pro- 
tect the interests of Sweden and Protestantism, and to 
obtain a footing for Sweden upon the southern shores of 
the Baltic sea. So, with an army of thirteen thousand 
men, and upheld in his course by his cabinet and country, 
he set sail in May, 1630, for what he considered a holy 
mission : the conquest of Germany for the cause of Pro- 
testantism. 

The troops landed at the mouth of the Oder, without 
any opposition, and soon had taken several fortifications 
near the coast. Magdeburg — a rich and populous Ger- 
man city — declared in favour of Protestantism and the 
Swedes ; so Colonel Falkenberg was sent to take command 
of the town and to put it in a condition of defence. Gus- 
tavus himself, embarked a considerable body of troops 
on vessels, for Magdeburg, and sailed away to take the 
Catholic stronghold; but a fierce storm arose and the 
troops were made so ill by the buffetings of the waves, 
that every sixth man was weak from sea-sickness, and the 
cavalry horses were unable to stand up. So the army was 
landed in boats and marched on terra firma towards the 
German frontier, through a country that was so devastated 
by Wallenstein's army that Gustavus had to feed the 
peasants with provender intended for his own troops. 
He paid in coin for everything which his soldiers ate, 
which was the exact opposite of the course pursued by 
those who championed the Catholic cause, who robbed 
and plundered all that they could. 

Gustavus soon captured the town of Ribnitz and rested 



106 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

from his serious labours, as the Catholics were gathering 
in force, and threatening his thin lines of communication. 
Wallenstein and he had never met, and, as the Catholic 
leader was now displaced by " Old Father Tilly," it looked 
as if he never would have the opportunity of clashing with 
this great Catholic. The Emperor of Germany had not 
only begun to fear the power of Wallenstein, but the people 
insisted upon his removal, as he allowed his troops the 
greatest license; and, wherever they had marched, they 
had plundered, burned, and pillaged. Strange to relate, 
a considerable number of Wallenstein's troops enlisted 
with Gustavus, for they were soldiers of fortune, and, 
when their occupation was gone with Wallenstein, they 
saw an opportunity for employment with the Swedish 
King. It made no difference to them where they fought 
as long as they drew rations and were kept busy. So they 
deserted the cause of King Ferdinand, like rats leaving 
an old ship, and soon had so depleted the Catholic army, 
that Gustavus had rather an easy time in his march of 
conquest. City after city fell before his well-directed 
attacks; the Imperialists, or CathoUc armies, could do 
nothing with his well-trained men — who were excellent 
in both discipline and morals — and before long Gus- 
tavus had advanced so far into the German territory, 
that even so far south as Vienna, they dreaded his power, 
and shook with fear whenever his name was mentioned. 

Gustavus Adolphus was now in the prime of life ; vig- 
orous; active; and without fear. He exposed himself 
recklessly in battle, and always rode with the van, or 
front, of the army. He was eager to know what was be- 
fore him and was quick to seize the advantages of ground 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 107 

and position. He never relied upon the judgment of his 
subordinates, but like Napoleon the First, saw everything 
for himself, and directed all of his movements personally. 
So keen was he and so fond of fighting, that his own spirit 
was infused into his men, who, after a time, came to have 
the same contempt for death that he, himself, possessed. 
Kind and generous in his impulses ; Gustavus was always 
ready to recognize and appreciate gallantry. He would 
frequently thank his generals before the entire army, 
after they had performed some act of special bravery, 
and was free with his distribution of crosses and honours, 
when he felt that his men deserved them. 

The Swedish Monarch had the iron will of the true 
soldier, and once convinced that he was right, nothing 
could bar him from the execution of his designs. He read 
daily in his bible and prayed fervently with his soldiers. 
When an offence had been committed, or a breach of dis- 
cipline, he was summary and severe in inflicting punish- 
ment, to which the following incident bears good testi- 
mony. One day he received a number of protests from 
the peasants to the effect that his soldiers had been steal- 
ing their possessions — which was a breach of military 
discipline. On going to the camp — a little later — he 
saw a stolen cow in front of the tent of a petty officer, and 
seizing the man by the hair, he informed him that he was 
going to turn him over to the executioner. 

" Come along with me, my son," he said. " Better 
that I punish thee, than that God visit vengeance upon 
me and the whole army, for thy sin." 

Of all his opponents : Wallenstein, Tilly, and Pappen- 
heim ; he thought most highly of the last, for he possessed 



108 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

the qualities of dash and quick decision, which he, him- 
self, possessed. He was asked what he thought of Father 
Tilly, one day. "He is brave," he replied, "but old; 
he does not think and act with sufficient speed. He is 
only an old Corporal." Of Wallenstein he thought little 
because of his personal vanity and love of display. " He 
is a vain fellow," he remarked. " And I do not think 
that he could be loyal to anyone but to himself." 

Gustavus Adolphus had now passed through the .first 
months of war and his troops were in winter quarters. 
When spring came, Tilly and Pappenheim marched on 
Magdeburg ; — ■ the Swedish King was unable to come to its 
defence — and in the Fall, the town was sacked and burned 
to the ground. Gustavus felt this catastrophe severely, 
but it had been impossible for him to prevent it, as the 
Electors — or chief men of the provinces which lay 
between his army and Magdeburg — refused to allow 
him to cross their land to the assistance of the garrison. 
At the downfall of that proud city, the Catholics rejoiced 
and taunted the Protestants with their jeers ; while many 
were cowed and disheartened by the awful fate of the once 
prosperous town. Gustavus fell back from his winter 
quarters and waited for Tilly to approach. 

But the old Corporal did not meet him until months 
later, and not until he had been joined by Pappenheim : 
the Troublesome, with his cuirassiers. Together they 
marched towards Leipsic, where Gustavus waited the 
attack, reinforced by a Saxon army of considerable pro- 
portions. Leipsic capitulated to the Catholic army, but, 
as the forces of the North approached, Tilly marched out 
to Breitenfeld to measure arms with the Snow King, as 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 109 

Gustavus was called. He was confident of victory, for 
he had a splendid army of veterans ; he had never lost a 
great battle ; and was eager to test his strength with that 
of the Swedes and Saxons. 

In the essay on Pappenheim, we have seen how Gus- 
tavus won the day; how the fiery Pappenheim, unable 
to curb his tempestuous cavalrymen; attempted to 
break the Swedish right, only to be met by such a check 
that he was forced to flee. How Old Father Tilly had 
looked upon this advance with perfect dismay, as he had 
not given the word to charge, and how the Swedes ad- 
vanced, captured Tilly's guns, and turned them on the 
fleeing Germans; who had been totally unable to pierce 
the Swedish line. Tilly himself was three times wounded, 
and was carried from the field in the arms of his men, 
bitterly cursing the turn of his fortune. 

As for Gustavus, he was at once recognized as the Prot- 
estant Hero, and those who had belittled him before now 
did nothing but praise his merits. Germany was filled 
with pamphlets to his valour, and pictures and medals 
of Gustavus the Great were struck off by the hundreds. 
Recruits flocked to his standard, while the spirit of the 
Swedes was tremendously heightened by the great victory. 
Gustavus was secure in his line of communication with 
the North ; the electors of the neighbouring provinces had 
declared their allegiance to him; and so he moved con- 
fidently into middle Germany, making treaties with all 
the provinces which he crossed, and with all the free cities. 
His operations appeared slow and cautious; but they 
were sure. The Imperialists retreated before him, curs- 
ing him at every step, and furious at his success; for 



110 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Gustavus had risen to a height beyond being King of 
Sweden and had assumed the task of establishing, with- 
out question, the equaHty of the Protestant faith with that 
of the Catholic religion. 

The Snow King (as Gustavus was called) would gladly 
have returned to Sweden, did not he feel that it was his 
duty to remain and protect the Protestants from the re- 
venge of the Catholics which would surely come if his 
army were withdrawn. Speaking upon the subject, one 
day, he said, " Believe me, I love a comfortable life as well 
as any man, and I have no desire to die an early death. 
The Emperor would readily make a separate peace with 
me, to get me to return to Sweden ; but I dare not leave 
so many innocent people subject to his revenge. Were 
it not for this, I would soon get me gone." He was warned 
of assassination, at the same time, for a priest was dis- 
covered in his room, one day, with a dagger concealed 
beneath his cloak; and wagers were frequently made 
that he would not live to leave the country. For this 
reason he was urged to keep a body guard around him, 
and was often asked by some of his generals, to allow them 
to do so, but, to all such requests, he would reply, " Then 
you would have me disregard the protection of God ; like 
a coward. No, I will not hear of such a thing." 

A few months later — after he had advanced with his 
army to the river Danube, in the South of Germany — 
he was riding out to make a reconnaissance of the works 
before Ingolstadt, when his horse was shot and fell from 
under him. A cannon ball struck the animal, just behind 
the place where the King's knee gripped the saddle, and, 
as he rolled upon the ground, Gustavus extricated him- 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 111 

self with little difficulty and had soon mounted another 
charger. The news of this mishap reached the ears of all, 
and at dinner one of his generals requested him not to so 
recklessly expose himself in the future. But to this 
counsel, the King remarked : " I take God and my con- 
science to witness, as well as all the tribulations I am 
undergoing and shall undergo, that I have left my King- 
dom and all I deem of value, solely for the security of my 
fatherland, to put an end to the fearful, religious tyranny 
that exists ; and in order to replace the Protestant Princes 
and estates of Germany, in their rights and freedom, and 
to win for us all a permanent peace. As to my exposing 
myself upon the field of battle, remember the old adage, 
* Whoso lives for honour must know how to die for the 
universal good.' " 

In spite of the open-handed dealings of the Swedish 
King, many Princes of Europe did not trust him; for 
unselfish devotion to any cause was such a rarity, that no 
one believed him when he stated that his conquests were 
for the good of the Protestants, alone. When he arrived 
before the city of Munich, he said to the townspeople, 
" I could inflict on you the penalties of Magdeburg — but 
fear not, my word is worth more than your capitulation 
papers." In spite of this excellent treatment of the Ger- 
mans, they were hostile and rebellious. The country 
people put every Swedish soldier to death, whom they 
captured away from the army ; and tortured them severely. 
In Bavaria, prayers were said in all the churches, which 
ran, " God save us from our country's enemy, Gustavus 
Adolphus, the Swedish devil." Preachers delivered long 
sermons against the invader, and besought the young men 



112 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

to join the armies of King Ferdinand in order to check 
the advances of this aUen. Even France became terrified 
at the victories of the Swedes and feared that a second 
Charlemagne had arrived who would soon invade the 
peaceful soil of that fruitful country, and annex the ter- 
ritory to the Swedish dominions. Furthermore, as Tilly — 
the rough and ready fighter — had been wounded so 
badly in a battle near Lech river that he had died, 
things looked most propitious for the Protestant cause. 

But — at this juncture — Wallenstein again appeared : 
Wallenstein, the proud and presumptious Catholic noble, 
who was so powerful that the German Emperor, himself, 
feared him and did not employ him for his service until 
forced to it by dire necessity. He had sulked in sullen 
retirement while Tilly had been endeavouring to defeat 
the armies of Gustavus, and, before he would again fight 
for the Emperor, he demanded the exclusive military 
power over all the territory in the hands of the enemy, and 
the right to dictate the plan of operations. King Fer- 
dinand weakly gave in to these terms, and, with a follow- 
ing of cut-throats, robbers and plunderers ; Wallenstein 
marched to attack the victorious Snow King, whom no 
one seemed to be able to stop in his onward progress, 
and who now confronted the army of the Catholics with 
a force one-third its size but of infinitely more activity. 
" There has been too much fighting," said the Czech 
(as Wallenstein was called). " I will show the Swedes 
another method and one that will quickly wear the Swedish 
King to a shadow." 

So the Catholics would not fight, no matter how much 
Gustavus tempted them to battle, but sat down in front 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 113 

of Nurnberg in the endeavour to starve the Swedish army 
into submission. The Northerners had fortified them- 
selves in the town and advanced again and again into the 
open plain to challenge Wallenstein to fight, but he would 
not do so. Once Gustavus sent out three regiments of 
dragoons and cuirassiers to capture a train of three 
thousand wagons, on their way to Wallenstein's camp 
from Bavaria, and followed after them, himself, with 
three thousand horsemen. Wallenstein heard of the 
movement and dispatched four squadrons of cavalry; 
twenty companies of Croats; and five hundred foot sol- 
diers to aid the convoy. They met the cuirassiers of Gus- 
tavus not far beyond the walls of the town, and the Swedish 
King attacked them with so much fury that not only was 
the wagon train captured, but also the troops which 
Wallenstein had sent to aid the safe passage of the stores 
within his lines. It was a great victory for Gustavus and 
never had he dashed into the fray with more fiery zeal 
than on that day. " He was like a meteor," says a writer 
of the period, '' and risked his body along with the com- 
mon soldiers. I saw him knock many a brave fellow from 
his horse, and deal some blows that a giant alone could 
have swung. He was a fury in the charge, and so cowed 
the enemy by his vigorous assaults that they fled before 
him like flies before the rain." 

But hunger soon appeared in the camp, and although 
there were one hundred and thirty-eight bakers in Nurn- 
berg, they could not bake bread fast enough to fill the 
hungry mouths of the army ; for there were one hundred 
and twenty-five thousand souls within the city. Soon the 
dead lay in the street, with no one to bury them; while 



114 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

lack of corn, hay, and oats, killed half the cavalry and 
artillery horses. The condition of the town was frightful 
and the soldiers began to clamour for a battle to relieve 
the awful monotony of their lives. Disease and hunger 
played havoc with the rank and file. The citizens of 
Niirnberg demanded that the Swedish army should de- 
part, or they would all perish from starvation. 

Spurred on by this appeal, Gustavus determined to once 
more endeavour to tempt the Catholic commander to 
battle in the open, so he again marched his troops from 
the town, hoping to draw the wily Wallenstein from his 
entrenchments. But the Czech would not budge an inch 
from his position and contented himself with shelling the 
Swedish army with a few of his cannon. Some small de- 
tachments were finally sent out from his lines to give 
battle with the Swedish advance, and a sharp skirmish 
was begun which ended in the retreat of the Catholic 
troops. This was all that Wallenstein would do. Im- 
patient with this lack of fighting spirit on the part of the 
enemy, Gustavus (who was by no means as cautious as 
Wallenstein) determined to attack the Catholic forces in 
their entrenchments. 

Next day at ten in the morning the Swedish foot-soldiers 
marched with great confidence against the fortifications 
in their front. They had stuck green boughs in their hats 
as a sign of cheerful courage, and, as they had stormed 
breaches on the torn walls of battlements, again and again, 
the well-manned walls in their faces did not inspire them 
with terror. As they approached the works of Wallen- 
stein, the fire grew most deadly, many officers and men 
fell before the rain of bullets, and Gustavus had the sole 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 115 

of his boot pierced by a ball. Still they kept on with vig- 
our, and so terrified was Wallenstein that they would carry 
his works, that he launched a regiment of his cuirassiers 
upon the line. They were routed and dispersed while the 
foot soldiers stormed a height facing a castle in the Cath- 
olic lines and held it against the furious cannonading of 
the ImperiaHstic troops. For twelve long hours the fighting 
lasted, and when it was over, the Swedes lay down upon 
their arms, to renew the struggle upon the following day. 

When morning came the attack was begun and all day 
the battle raged with fury. Night closed upon a field 
strewn with the dead, while Wallenstein was unmoved 
from his position. To him belonged the victory of the 
affair, while to Gustavus Adolphus belonged the honour. 
His men were not disheartened by the outcome. He, 
himself, understood his failure, and sat down to remain 
in this vicinity as long as there was any hope of again meet- 
ing the forces of the crafty Wallenstein, who still sat sul- 
lenly in his entrenchments; refusing to come out and 
fight, while his men starved by the thousands and the 
country side was made into a desert. 

But Gustavus was eager for battle. A few days later he 
sent Wallenstein a challenge to march out and fight in 
the open, and at an hour specified in his note of challenge, 
he drew up his men in the plain in front of the Imperial 
camp. But Wallenstein would not move from his posi- 
tion ; he could not be tempted to come out upon the plain, 
and did not even send an answer to the note of challenge. 
So Gustavus threw a few shells into the Cathohc camp 
and then retired. " I have attacked the enemy's entrench- 
ments and have been beaten back," he said, " but if I 



116 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

could have only had old Wallenstein in an open field, I 
would have shown the world how well the Swedish army 
could have drubbed him." And shortly afterwards he 
retreated towards the North, hoping to, at last, draw the 
leader of the Imperialistic forces into a fight, where there 
was room to move the troops and cavalry, with no en- 
trenchments to shelter the enemy behind. 

Gustavus pushed his army (now half depleted through 
sickness and disease) into Swabia, and while conquering 
this country, discovered that Wallenstein was marching 
into Saxony, — a territory allied to the Swedes and to the 
Protestant Cause. The Catholic General swept all be- 
fore him — took the city of Leipsic — and sat down to 
wait for Gustavus to attack him in this position. Pappen- 
heim had brought up his marauders and cut-throats to 
add to the forces at his command, and the great Czech 
felt confident of success with the Swedish King. And he 
did not again wait to be attacked behind his entrench- 
ments, but, advancing to the village of Liitzen, placed his 
army across the highway leading to Leipsic, with the 
ditches along the sides of the roads in front of his lines, to 
act as fortifications in the same way that the old railroad 
embankment sheltered the Confederates in the second 
battle of Bull Run. Here Gustavus found his enemy, 
and here the two armies met in that mighty battle, the 
record of which will be for ever written bright upon the 
pages of history. 

Wallenstein remained in the centre of his own lines, as 
he suffered so severely from gout in his feet that he could 
not mount his horse. He directed the movements of his 
troops from a litter and drew up his men in solid lines, as 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 117 

it was his purpose to fight a purely defensive battle and to 
hold the causeway for an entrenchment. Gustavus was 
mounted upon his black charger and was clad in a 
suit of dark clothes with no helmet and cuirass. A wound 
in his shoulder was so painful that it hurt him severely 
whenever he put on his armour, and, in spite of the re- 
quests of his generals, he refused to wear a breast-plate. 
He was eager for the fray, for, at last, after months of 
sparring with the enemy, he was to meet him upon open 
ground, where it would be possible to test the merits of 
army against army, under equal conditions. His men 
were keen as he was for the contest and were directed to 
endeavour to cut off Wallenstein from Leipsic and to cap- 
ture the town by cutting to pieces the right wing of the Im- 
perialists. The speech of the Snow King to his men was 
short and to the point. He rode out in front of the lines, 
after prayers had been said by the Chaplains, and a hymn : 
" Ein Feste Burg," (which he had written himself) had 
been sung, — and said, " Forward in God's name! Fight 
as you have never fought before. God is with us and our 
holy cause." 

Gustavus, himself, headed his own cavalry, which were 
mounted on stout, cobby horses and armed with long 
swords and a double brace of pistols. Clad in cuirass, 
helmet, and strong leather boots, it took a good shot, or 
a well-directed sword thrust, to lay them low. They were 
powerful fellows; wiry; hardy; and tough. Battle was 
food and drink to them, and they loved a charge as a man 
of modern times, who has red blood in his veins, loves a 
steeple-chase or a fox-hunt over a country full of open 
fields and snake fences. It was ten o'clock before they 



118 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

advanced to grapple with the enemy, for a dense fog lay 
over the plains in the early morning which burned off at 
this time, and, after a sharp artillery duel (similar to that 
on the last day of Gettysburg) the Swedes advanced to go 
in to the enemy and fight hand-to-hand. 

On the right, the cavalry squadrons — headed by the 
King — dashed into the black horsemen of General 
Piccolomini, and soon a furious struggle began. But, 
although they fought like heroes, the tough and hardy 
Imperialistic Cavalrymen were not strong enough for the 
Swedish horse. The columns of the enemy broke before 
the onslaught and retreated across the rolling plains, 
hacked to pieces as they went by the keen and courageous 
Swedes. Wallenstein was furious with anger as he watched 
this retreat and moved about so restlessly in his litter that 
he had to be placed upon the ground. Nor was he any 
more pleased when he saw the Swedish cavalry on his 
right flank penetrate his own Hnes and send his own cui- 
rassiers galloping in confusion to the rear. In the centre 
the infantry of the Snow King advanced upon the roadside 
ditches; drove Wallenstein's musketeers pell-mell out of 
their entrenchments, and captured the battery of artillery 
in the centre of the line. The first attack of the Swedes 
had been a great success, and all looked bright for the 
soldiers of Gustavus. 

As is always the case when soldiers are victorious, the 
Swedish infantry became strung out and somewhat dis- 
organized when they pushed the Imperialistic foot back, 
across the hills. Wallenstein saw this, and immediately 
ordered some cavalry regiments — held in reserve — to 
charge the victorious Swedes as they came exultantly on- 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 119 

ward. With a wild cheer of defiance, several Imperial- 
istic cavalry regiments swept down upon the Swedish foot 
like a torrent. They broke the disorganized infantry 
brigades ; forced them backwards ; and although they had 
captured one battery; it was retaken. Some of the re- 
serve cavalry regiments of the Swedes dashed to the rescue. 
A furious and sanguinary hand-to-hand fight took place 
in the centre of the field, and, in spite of all that they could 
do, the troops of Gustavus began to waver and break. 
It looked as if their first success would be turned into a 
dire defeat. 

At this stage of the battle Gustavus was still employed 
in driving the cavalry regiments before him, on the right. 
Sword in hand, he was just as seriously engaged in the 
fray as any of his soldiers, when a courier dashed up to 
him. 

" Your centre is breaking, O King ! " he said. " You 
must do something, at once, or else our victory will be 
turned into an utter defeat." 

Gustavus wheeled his black charger and looked in the 
direction of the central line. 

" It is as you say," he gasped, as he saw the confusion 
of his troops. " I will come at once, and with my cav- 
alry." 

Placing himself immediately at the head of the Smaland 
cavalry regiment and raising his sword aloft to urge on 
his men, he galloped in the direction of the centre. He 
was over-eager; over-zealous; over-impetuous; and in 
the fog which was slowly drifting back upon the field, he 
rode well out in front of his men. Heading towards the 
place where he expected to find his infantry; he dashed 



120 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

along; confident that he would soon rally his beaten 
squadrons, and that the temporary rout would soon be 
turned to victory. Suddenly he rode into a body of cav- 
alry, — • they were Imperialists. 

" Who goes there? " called one. " Friend or foe? " 

Gustavus did not answer, but swerved his horse, and 
attempted to gallop away in the direction of his own army. 
A shot rang out in the mist. It struck the noble monarch 
in the bridle arm, but it did not stop him. Another shot 
sounded through the dense vapour, and a bullet pierced 
the Snow King through the body. He fell headlong from 
his horse, and the riderless animal dashed into his lines 
and warned his devoted followers of the loss of their be- 
loved leader. 

There was now a lull in the battle, and when the King's 
charger ran into his own troops, the men were furious at 
the loss which they had sustained. 

" Revenge," they shouted. " Revenge on Wallenstein, 
the German dog. Revenge for Gustavus the Noble ! " 

They re-formed ; again pressed forward ; and in the fog 
and gathering darkness, the two armies struck, and fought, 
and bled, in terrible confusion. Pappenheim — the great 
Imperial horseman — had been killed in a cavalry charge, 
and his men, too, were keen for revenge. The cavalry on 
the wings fought doggedly; the infantry in the centre 
struck out with pike, rapier, and halberd ; and thousands 
gave up their lives upon that bloody field. When night fell 
the ground was strewn with corpses, and both sides rested 
upon their arms, sullen and stern at the dreadful losses of 
the day ; and determined to renew the conflict in the morn- 
ing. But, when the sun burned off the morning mist 



GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS 121 

Wallenstein's mighty army was in full retreat and the relics 
of his once proud columns were straggling into Bohemia. 
To the Swedes was given the field of battle, but it could 
not repay them for the loss of Gustavus Adolphus. The 
whole army mourned him, and was so dejected at his 
untimely death, that it had neither the heart nor the cour- 
age to follow up its hollow victory. 

So died Gustavus Adolphus; the Lion of the North; 
one of the greatest Captains of History and a man of tre- 
mendous force and personal courage. He left one of the 
cleanest records of the ages ; he led one of the most suc- 
cessful armies which the world has ever known, and when 
his soul went out upon the bleeding sod at Liitzen, the 
mighty army under his command was like a ship without 
a rudder. His lieutenants endeavoured to carry out his 
system and his plans; but there was not one who was 
equal to the task. Soon a truce was declared and the glory 
that had once been Sweden's, melted away into nothing- 
ness, and it has remained in such a condition for ever 
since. No second Gustavus Adolphus has ever arisen, 
who could duplicate the deeds of the Peerless Lion of the 
North. 



PRINCE RUPERT: THE IMPETUOUS. 
[1619— 1682] 

EVERY war has its heroes. Among the vast num- 
bers of combatants there are a few whose valour 
shines above the rest and whose names adorn the 
pages of history. Prince Rupert is one of these. A prince 
of Germany and descended from a noble line of ancestors, 
his name appears most brilliantly in the records of that 
warfare which unseated Charles the First of England and 
led to the accession of Oliver Cromwell to the chief 
executive command. As a leader of light horse his great 
ability will always be recognized. An impulsive man: 
as high tempered as a thoroughbred ; impetuous ; daring ; 
imaginative ; he had every quality of mind that is requisite 
for a leader of cavalry. Had he possessed more caution 
it is possible that his fame as a general might be more 
secure. 

Three portraits of the Gernian Prince have come down 
to us from the past. The earliest is by Van Dyck and was 
painted when Rupert made his first visit to England in the 
year 1635. The picture still hangs at Coombe Abbey, the 
country house of gallant Lord Craven. It shows Rupert 
to be a handsome young man ; tall and thin, with a frank, 
open expression. His face is oval and nose extraordi- 
narily long and aristocratic. As was the custom of the 

122 




PRINCE RUPERT 



THE 1:L\'I YORK 
! BLIC LIBRARY 



: 'C-. L -'OX ft ID 
TILDFN FoJ D-^ IONS, 



PRINCE RUPERT 123 

period, a thick mass of curls hang on either side of his 
head. He is richly dressed as befits the rank of a nephew 
of the King of England. 

The second is by Dobson, painted at the time of the 
Cromwellian war, and labelled, " The Most Illustrious 
and High Born Prince Rupert, Prince Elector Palatine 
of the Rhine, Second Son to Frederick King of Bohemia, 
General of His Majesty's Army, Knight of the Most Noble 
Order of the Garter, etc." As is to be expected, the years 
of stress and storm have left their mark upon his coun- 
tenance. Where — in the first portrait — the face shows 
no lines of care or sorrow, in the second the expression is 
one of dogged sullenness. He is thmner than before and 
more careworn. His mouth has a hard look about it and 
his eyes are melancholy. A tangled mass of dark hair 
hangs on either side of his hollow cheeks and the curls of 
youth are no longer here, for the man of experience has 
taken the place of the careless boy. 

Again there is a third portrait of this dashing blade. 
It is by a German artist, Kneller by name, and painted 
at a still later date, when Rupert had matured into a man 
of middle age. He is more haggard than before and deeper 
lines are about the mouth and chin. Yet the expression 
is more pleasing than in the second picture, and shows 
that in later years he could smile at the battles of the past. 
Time has mellowed his impetuous nature and softened the 
dogged spirit to a mature cynicism. These three pictures 
are a perfect portrayal of the man's life : the first part was 
joyous ; care free : the second full of danger, recklessness 
and excitement ; the third and last was quiet and reflect- 
ive. It was a man's fife, — well spent and full of that 



124 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

excitement and action which those of a vigorous tempera- 
ment enjoy. 

Rupert was born in Bohemia in 1619, — the son of 
Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and Elizabeth 
Stuart, daughter of James I and of Anne of Denmark. 
Germany was then in the throes of the Thirty Years' War, 
— a terrible strife in which thirty thousand villages were 
destroyed, five hundred thousand men, women and chil- 
dren were butchered, and whole provinces were wasted. 
When Frederick V assumed the title of King of Bohemia, 
he brought upon himself the wrath of Ferdinand, the 
German Emperor, who claimed Bohemia as his own prov- 
ince. To maintain his position, it was necessary to fight, 
for Ferdinand quickly organized an army and sent it 
against him. But Frederick could gain no allies. He was 
badly defeated at Prague and was forced to flee precipi- 
tously; leaving his young son Rupert behind him. Had 
it not been for his chamberlain, the Baron d'Honal, Ru- 
pert would have fallen into the hands of the enemy. Luckily 
for him, he was picked up, tossed into a carriage, and 
driven after his father upon the gallop. He caught up 
with him at Breslau in the old castle of Custrin, where the 
night was passed. Certainly a haphazard escape for the 
little boy and a characteristic beginning of a romantic life. 

Soon Rupert was to be alone in the world, for his poor 
father — deprived of all position and power — died, lit- 
erally of a broken heart. He was allied both in sympathy 
and fortune with Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, 
and could not survive the news of his 'tragic death. We 
have no clear record of Rupert's youth after this. We 
know that he attended the University of Leyden and 



PRINCE RUPERT 125 

gained a smattering of education, but whether he grad- 
uated, or not, there is no method of deciding. At any rate 
he was a great favourite, showed a strong liking for things 
military, and was said by an admirer to be able to com- 
mand a regiment when only fourteen years of age; for, 
at this time, he served as a private among the Prince of 
Orange's Life Guard in the war between Spain and Hol- 
land, and, althougli the war ended abruptly, Rupert seems 
to have won well-merited praise for his service. On more 
than one occasion, he was patted on the back by the older 
officers and informed that he had done his duty hke a fine, 
old soldier. 

But now Rupert was to visit England, the land in which 
his military fame was to be made and where he was to 
gain that renown from which he is world famous. As 
Charles the First, the reigning monarch, was his uncle, his 
introduction at court was under the pleasantest auspices. 
He was popular with all, for his personal beauty and 
winning ways were most engaging. Made an honorary 
Master of Arts by the Oxford University, he was enter- 
tained royally both there and at many country houses 
which he visited with the King, where there were boating 
parties on the river, hunting in Windsor or Richmond 
Forest, and many another diversion. The happy hours 
went only too rapidly by for the youthful Rupert. 

But the time soon came when duty demanded that he 
should return to Holland. " Would that I could break 
my neck in the hunting field and leave my bones in Eng- 
land," he said to his Uncle, the King; upon the day of 
parting. Little did he think at the time that he would 
come near leaving them there but a few months later, for 



126 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

cruel war was brewing in England and before many more 
days the quiet countryside would resound with the clash 
of arms and the shouts of infuriated men. 

On returning to Holland Rupert found a war already 
in progress. The Prince of Orange had opened hostilities 
upon the Palatinate and was besieging the town of Breda. 
Here the young Prince was put in charge of several forlorn 
hopes, and displayed a reckless courage which won the 
admiration of all the rough soldiers of the Dutch army. 
Although constantly exposing himself under the most 
gruelling fire, he escaped all danger and came through 
this severe fighting without a scratch upon his person. 
Breda fell and Rupert returned to the Hague, determined 
to raise a force of his own and join in the campaign which 
was to be waged against the German Imperialists. 

Before long he had three regiments of cavalry, one of 
guards, two of dragoons, and a small force of artillery. 
Count Konigsmark was in command of this small army 
of 4,000 men and Rupert was put in personal charge of 
one regiment. Full of zeal, this tiny force marched forth 
to battle against some of the most powerful troops of the 
Continent. The reckless courage of Count Konigsmark 
seemed equal to that of the black-haired Rupert. First 
they attacked a fortress at Rheims. The garrison was 
dispersed by Rupert's regiment, when they had marched 
from their fortifications into the open, but, called onward 
by Konigsmark, the entire army was soon engaged with 
a much superior force. With courage and abandon, 
Rupert rode to the attack. His horsemen penetrated to 
the very centre of the Imperialistic line. It seemed as if 
they would win the day, until a fresh force appeared upon 



PRINCE RUPERT 127 

the field, came up upon his flank, and hemmed the vic- 
torious horsemen in a cordon of steel. Rupert's plight 
was desperate. He fought hand-to-hand with several 
adversaries. His sword was broken at the hilt and his 
enemies attempted to cut down his charger. But forcing 
his way between the many soldiers that surrounded him, 
the gallant Prince galloped his horse to a wall and at- 
tempted to leap him across to a place of safety. Alas ! 
his horse could not jump the obstacle on account of a 
large sabre cut in his chest. Rupert was thrown heavily 
against the wall; in a moment more he was surrounded 
and overpowered, and his first battle had ended disas- 
trously. 

Sent to the fortress of Lintz on the Danube, there he 
was confined for three years. It was a tedious time for a 
man of such restless spirit, yet he passed the weary hours 
in drawing and painting. The talented Aristocrat made 
such a favourable impression upon his gaolers that, after a 
year of captivity, he was allowed considerable freedom. 
The Emperor of Germany's brother, (the Archduke Leo- 
pold) was so much pleased with him that he was granted 
many privileges. He was even permitted to play tennis 
and to be away from his prison for some days in hunting 
expeditions with his inseparable companion at this period 
of his life, a beautiful white dog called Boy. This faithful 
animal was presented to him by Lord Arundel and fol- 
lowed him to many a camp and battle-ground until at 
last he met his death at the bloody field of Marston Moor. 

When he was eventually set free he found that another 
war had begun. The tradesmen; shopkeepers of the 
town ; the yeomanry ; a considerable number of the coun- 



128 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

try gentlemen ; and a few of the nobility in England, had 
formed a political party in opposition to King Charles. 
Upon his side were the nobles, the clergy and a majority 
of the country gentlemen. Those who favoured the King 
were called The Cavaliers, while those who opposed his 
policy of government were derisively named Roundheads, 
from the Puritan fashion of wearing closely cropped hair. 
Charles had angered his people by governing the country 
as an irresponsible despot, levying taxes by his own orders, 
and imprisoning such persons as were obnoxious to him. 
How long the sober English people would have borne this 
tyranny it is impossible to say, but events soon came to 
pass which precipitated a struggle. 

After various altercations with Parhament, King Charles 
finally committed a despotic act intended to overcome the 
refractory Commons. He demanded the surrender of 
five of the most troublesome members, on a charge of 
treason ; and, as they were not given up on the following 
day, the King went to the House of Commons, accom- 
panied by a considerable number of armed men, with 
orders to seize them. They were kept away by other 
members. This infuriated the King beyond measure, but 
it angered his subjects still more, for, by this overt act, 
Charles had insulted the nation. 

There was now great indignation on both sides. A 
bitter controversy waged between the King and the Com- 
mons, which became so acute that the members of Par- 
liament demanded that Charles should give up the com- 
mand of the Army. With kingly disdain, he refused to do 
this. Thus Civil War became inevitable. 

Rupert sailed for England, determined to enlist under 



PRINCP: RUPERT 129 

his uncle's banner, but he came near not fighting at all, as 
some ships belonging to the Roundheads surrounded the 
vessel which he was on. But they ran in a fog which 
allowed the prince's vessel to reach shore in safety; and 
thus Rupert was soon on his way to join the King. 

While riding to meet his uncle Charles, his horse threw 
him, dislocated his shoulder, and gave him such a severe 
shaking up that he was disabled for three days. But he 
determined to press onward to see the King in spite of 
intense pain in his body. Reaching him at Leicester 
Abbey, he was given an immediate appointment as " Gen- 
eral of the Royal Horse," a company of but eight hundred 
men. Although few in numbers, they were intensely loyal 
to their King, a sentiment which stirred the fiery soul of 
Rupert with burning fervour, for he was devoted to his 
uncle and threw himself heart and soul into the work of 
raising and equipping an army to repel the advance of the 
Puritans. 

During the next month, Rupert scoured the country 
for recruits to the Royal Standard. He was, at this time, 
twenty-three years of age; tall; vigorous; agile. His 
dark hair flowed gracefully over the wide collar of his scarlet 
coat and his eyes blazed with the zeal of his fiery nature. 
Followers flocked to the standard of this gay young blade, 
at once attracted by his manners and his person. So great 
was his success, that finally he joined the King with over 
three thousand horsemen, well mounted, well equipped, 
bright with shining mail and crimson cloaks. Naturally 
the arrival of this body of troops cheered up Charles tre- 
mendously, for his spirit was weighed down with the cares 
and responsibilities of war. Bad news came thick upon 



130 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

him, as the Puritans were collecting a far greater army 
than he had thought they could gather. A sinister omen, 
too, had attended the initial raising of his standard, for it 
had blown down when first unfurled. Again it had been 
raised by willing hands and again a fierce wind drove it 
to the turf. Finally it was carried to the turret of a castle 
and lashed securely to the flagstaff, but the effect of this 
evil sign had worked upon the sensitive mind of the King. 
It required much cheering talk from Rupert to lighten his 
drooping spirit. 

As for the feelings of the chief of cavalry, these seem to 
have never been more bright. For he even penetrated 
the enemy's line in disguise and brought off much needed 
information. One day he came upon an apple vendor 
driving a cart into his own line. Giving him a guinea, he 
put on his dirty cap and smock, seated himself in the 
wagon, and drove into the Puritan camp. There he stood 
up inside and cried out loudly that he had apples for sale. 
The Roundheads flocked around him and soon he had 
disposed of all his stock. Then, with a very clear idea of 
the disposition and numbers of the enemy, he turned about 
and drove to his own army. " Go tell them that Prince 
Rupert sends his compliments and wishes to inquire how 
they liked the apples which he sold them," he said to the 
apple vendor, and sent him back to the Roundhead army. 

When this occurred it was October. King Charles had 
10,000 men at Nottingham, while Essex, leader of the 
Puritans, confronted him with a force not quite so large. 
The Puritan army was weak from lack of proper cavalry 
and the soldiers were not fired with the same zeal that in- 
flamed the troops of the Royal army. But there was 



PRINCE RUPERT 131 

jealousy among the Generals under King Charles and 
some insubordination. Pushing forward with determina- 
tion and zeal, the rival factions met at Edgehill. They 
came together on Sunday, about mid-day. Church bells 
pealed on either side of the valley, where the steel-clad 
warriors met. The Puritans chanted hymns and prayed 
fervently before the actual conflict, while the Cavaliers 
shouted in defiance and cheered for Rupert and the King. 
Soon the cannon began to roar and the muskets cracked. 
Rupert with his waving plume and crimson cloak, rode 
down into the valley at the head of his horsemen. They 
were burning for the fight. " Charge," he called, and, 
with a great cheer, his soldiers fell upon the Puritan horse 
collected on the right flank. They broke and fled pre- 
cipitously, while Ramsay, their chief, galloped away in 
dismay. On, on, flew^ the Cavaliers in pursuit, cutting 
down the Roundheads to the right and left. They chased 
onward to the baggage-train and here were forced back 
by the determined resistance of two regiments of infantry. 
The victorious Cavaliers were scattered by now and they 
had no alignment ; a misfortune which lost the day for the 
King. 

For although the Royal horse on the left ving, had, with 
headlong fury, driven the opposing troops before them; 
the centre of the Puritan Army, including a troop under 
the famous Oliver Cromwell, had stood up triumphant. 
They pressed upon the King, whom they now outnum- 
bered; and forced his men back in disorder. So when 
Rupert returned, sure of victory and hoping to find the 
King pursuing the enemy, to his dismay he found him 
surrounded by a few noblemen and defending himself 



132 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

with desperation„ Dead and dying were thick upon the 
field, over which darkness was falhng. Soon night put an 
end to the fighting. When day dawned, the armies lay 
watching each other, neither daring to open hostilities, and 
at nightfall, Essex withdrew his forces, leaving King 
Charles in possession of the field. 

It is clear that had Rupert displayed less impetuosity 
in this first battle and had he not allowed his cavalrymen 
to become scattered, after the first charge, he might have 
won the conflict for the King. But these were always his 
tactics. Had he at any time left a reserve behind him, 
he might have been able to collect sufficient force to make 
a counter stroke. Unfortunately for his reputation as a 
cavalryman, his impetuosity was too great. Yet the 
picturesqueness of this man would have been far less had 
he had more caution 

Charles moved to Oxford, where he established his 
court, while Rupert scoured the neighbouring country 
and had repeated brushes with the enemy. Finally he 
made up his mind to take the town of Brentford, which was 
well protected by barricades. Hampden's and Holies' 
troops held it and were continually on the watch, so Ru- 
pert collected his men one foggy morning and made a dash 
upon the fortifications. His soldiers forced their way across 
the barricades, fighting like very devils. Rupert was in 
their midst, his red cloak fluttering in the breeze and his 
cheeks flushed with excitement. The defence was stub- 
born, but nothing could stem this onslaught. By nightfall, 
the town was in the hands of Prince Rupert : the impetuous. 
Five hundred prisoners, eleven stand of colours and fifteen 
guns were in his possession and he would have had more 



PRINCE RUPERT 133 

had not an order from King Charles soon recalled him. 
The troops retreated slowly, while Rupert, with char- 
acteristic bravery, was the last to cross the bridge which led 
from the town. Thus ended the closing engagement of 
that year. The first months of conflict had been unsatis- 
factory enough for the royal cause. 

Not long afterwards, a body of troops commanded by 
Lord Essex passed through the dense forest near Newbury 
in order to make an attempt to capture King Charles. As 
the soldiers rode carelessly along they laughed and joked 
with one another. Their horses' hoofs made little sound 
on the soft moss of the forest and the clinking of their ar- 
mour plates was musical to the ear. Little did they suspect 
the presence of an enemy, when suddenly, and without 
Vvarning, red-cloaked horsemen dashed out upon them. 
With a wild yell, they were beset on all sides by Rupert's 
soldiers. They drew sabres and attempted to repel the 
attack, but they were forced to take flight. The King 
escaped and Rupert was again the hero of the hour, for by 
his keenness and quickness of action he had saved his 
sovereign's head. 

Now, after many sharp skirmishes, occurred the fight 
at Marston Moor : a battle which resulted in disaster for 
the CavaHers. Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Puritan 
troop, by his own efforts, had much improved the cavalry 
of the Roundhead Army. Prince Rupert had not yet 
met horsemen whom his own men could not scatter, and he 
entered this battle with most supreme confidence in his 
own ability. The army of the Parliament outnumbered 
that of the King by fully a thousand men. It was drawn 
up in a commanding position with the cavalry under 



134 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Cromwell and Leslie on the left, and reserves of foot and 
horse in the rear under gallant Lord Fairfax. The day 
was a hot one, for it was the 2nd of July, and dense, black 
clouds shrouded the light of the sun. Peals of thunder 
growled ominously. The air was filled with shouts from 
the eager Cavaliers and hymns of praise from the resolute 
Puritans, before the battle commenced. Rupert himself 
was serenely confident in his success. He pointed to the 
enemy's line and said to a prisoner. " Is Cromwell there ? 
and will he fight ? E'gad if he will, there will be fighting 
enough as my arm is aching for a blow at him." 

" He is there and will give you all the fighting that you 
wish, Sire." 

" Then take this message to him," said the Prince, 
turning to one of his men. " Tell him that I wish to 
measure strength with him." 

Oliver Cromwell heard the message and a scowl gathered 
on his countenance- 

" Go tell your master that if it pleases God we shall 
fight," he said. 

Rupert laughed, as the message was announced, and 
putting himself at the head of his cavalry, waved his sword 
aloft and called upon his men to follow. It was seven in 
the evening, for neither side had dared attack before this. 
The Roundheads had made the first movement and were 
now advancing across the moor, chanting psalms, and 
showing a bold and resolute front. Rupert's men crashed 
into a Scotch battalion and hurled them back, panic- 
stricken and afraid. But the flight was not to be like that 
at EdgehilL The troops rallied behind the cavalry of 
Oliver Cromwell which just then came up, and these 



PRINCE RUPERT 135 

charged furiously, brandishing their broadswords and 
evincing a courage quite equal to that of the Cavahers. 
For the first time in the history of the war, Rupert met 
with a serious check. He had, as usual, left no reserve 
behind to aid his men should there be a reverse. Crom- 
well, on the other hand, had a regiment of Scotch cavalry 
in reserve, and these he hurled upon Rupert's horsemen. 
The Cavaliers were driven back in disorder. They were 
pursued by the leading troops, while Cromwell gathered 
a greater portion of his cavalry and fell upon the right wing 
of the Royal army. He was successful and his star arose 
triumphant upon the blood-stained field of Marston Moor. 

Rupert, believing that the victory was won, returned to 
the battle-ground and reined in his horse on the crest of a 
hill. There below him, he saw Cromwell, blood-stained 
and without his helmet, cheering on his men to renewed 
effort. They were beating back the King's troops and 
driving them relentlessly onward. The dead and dying 
covered the plain, and hoarse shouts of victory sounded 
above the crash of arms. He saw King Charles attempt- 
ing to rally his men for a last charge, but an attendant 
seized the bridle-reins of his horse and turned his head 
away. Prince Rupert spurred to his side and rode with 
him from the field. Night was closing in upon them and 
the wreck of the Royal Army was in a disorderly confusion. 

Four thousand of the Cavaliers had fallen. Their losses 
in guns, ammunition, and camp equipment had been very 
great. Yet the defeat had not been a total rout, for the 
Roundheads had lost so heavily that they were unable to 
follow up their advantage. As at the battle of Gettysburg, 
the winners of the fight were in such a crippled condition 



136 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

that the advantage could not be maintained. In spite of 
this, the moral effect of the victory had been great, and from 
that time onward, the cause of King Charles and his Cav- 
aliers was doomed to disaster. 

Prince Rupert had lost his favourite friend at the battle 
of Marston Moor. Poor " Boy," the white hound, had 
been ridden down by the cavalry and crushed beneath the 
hoofs of a horse. This devoted companion had followed 
him through all the vicissitudes of the campaign, and was 
constantly by his side. It is said that the gallant Prince 
felt his death even more than he did the loss of the battle, 
for with characteristic light-heartedness, he looked for 
better times in the future, and did not worry over the result 
of the bitter struggle. 

But better times were not to come for Rupert and the 
King. There were temporary successes in the West of 
England, where a small army under Essex was hemmed in 
and captured, and at Leicester, which was besieged; 
taken; and sacked. In spite of these triumphs, on June 
14th, 1645, their forces met defeat on the field of Naseby. 
The fight was a fierce one : quite as fierce as at Marston 
Moor, and the slaughter was even greater than before. 

In this affray, the army of the King consisted of about 
ten thousand men and that of the Roundheads was a bit 
larger. It is estimated that fully fourteen thousand troops 
were opposed to Charles and Prince Rupert. The infan- 
try on each side was in the centre. Cromwell with his 
cavalry was on the right-wing of the Roundhead Army, 
and Ireton, with his horse, on the left. Sir Marmaduke 
Langsdale's position was to the left of the King's forces; 
with Rupert on the right. Thus the Prince was not opposed 



PRINCE RUPERT 137 

to Cromwell, as at Marston Moor, and it was well for him 
that he was not; for Cromwell was more than a match 
for this impetuous horseman. 

The battle began with an attack by the Royal Army, for 
the King believed that the enemy was in full retreat. The 
Roundheads waited until their opponents had descended 
from the hills on which they stood and then shouted, " God 
is our strength," as they advanced to the fray. Rupert's 
cavalry, with the battle-cry of " Queen Mary," also rushed 
to the charge. Ircton's horse gave way before them like 
chaff before the wind. The General himself received a 
severe wound and became a prisoner, only to escape after- 
wards in the melee. Rupert was in the centre of the fray, 
urging his men to renewed feats of valour, and brandishing 
his gleaming sword aloft in an ecstasy of delight, for he 
loved a good fight. Ireton's division was cut to pieces and 
the Cavaliers dashed upon the reserves in the rear of the 
army and captured a number of cannon. 

Of course the gallant Prince hoped that all had gone as 
well in other portions of the field as with him. But such 
was not the case. The infantry of the King had to march 
up a steep incline in order to close with the enemy, and they 
were subjected to a murderous fire as they approached. 
Their ranks were shaken in the assault. Seeing them 
waver, Oliver Cromwell ordered an advance and swept 
down upon them with overwhelming strength. 

King Charles saw, with dismay, that he was defeated. 
In the moment of despair, he seemed eager to meet a 
warrior's end and pushed forward into the fight. But the 
Earl of Chatworth seized his bridle rein and stopped him. 
" Will you go to your death, Sire? " he asked, " Yea," 



138 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

replied the King, " It is well that I were dead on the field." 
But in spite of this heroic remark he weakly allowed him- 
self to be led away from his struggling men, who likewise 
began to fall back from the enemy. The majority gave 
up all for lost. They retreated sullenly, fighting every inch 
of the way, and giving Cromwell's troopers rough usage 
in their victorious advance. Rupert came back from his 
own gallant charge, re-formed his men, and attempted to 
stem the flood. But Cromwell now charged home with 
both cavalry and infantry. So fierce was he that the Roy- 
alist troopers fled before the onslaught. The Roundhead 
leader pushed after the retreating foe and for twelve miles 
kept touch with the fugitives. Five thousand of the King's 
men were either killed or captured Vv'hile the dead extended 
over a distance of four miles. All the King's artillery was 
taken, while nine thousand stand of arms, one hundred 
stands of colours, and two hundred gun carriages, fell into 
the hands of the Roundheads. 

Rupert joined the King as they left the field, and halted 
with him on a hill. Looking back, they saw the valley 
filled with a raging torrent of men and horses, while the 
banner of the Roundheads flaunted victoriously in their 
faces. From that awful sight, the two sad Royalists 
turned away and rode dejectedly into the gloom. The 
decisive blow of the war had fallen. 

There was some fighting after this in spite of such a 
terrible defeat. Rupert was soon in command of a con- 
siderable force at the town of Bristol, with orders to defend 
it against all hazards. He was besieged by Lord Fairfax 
with a goodly number of Roundheads whose hearts were 
burning with zeal for their own cause. Fairfax intended 











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PRINCE RUPERT 139 

to starve out the gallant Prince, but Cromwell wrote him a 
stirring letter counselling an assault. The place was gal- 
lantly defended : as gallantly as one might expect from a 
man of Rupert's courage and heroism. But nothing could 
withstand the fiery zeal of the invaders. They effected an 
entrance at the very gate itself and secured a footing on 
the inner battlement. Scaling ladders were rushed into 
use and the doughty Cromwellians were seen by the 
defenders to have them at their mercy. 

So a council of war was held by those inside and it was 
decided that, in view of the fact that no assistance would 
reach them from the King, it was well to capitulate. Fur- 
ther resistance could of course have been made, but it 
would have been with great loss of life. 

The council of war was composed of several men besides 
Prince Rupert, yet when King Charles heard of this alTair 
he was furious with rage. He first threatened to have his 
nephew brought to a court-martial and even put a friend 
of his in jail because he was Rupert's personal admirer. 
He wrote a severe letter to his great leader of cavalry, 
ordered him to leave the country, and revoked all the 
Commissions which he had received from him. His rage 
seemed to be insatiable. 

It was only very natural that Rupert should now en- 
deavour to become reconciled to his uncle. He was de- 
voted to him ; had risked his life in a hundred engagements 
for him ; and had always been his loyal and enthusiastic 
follower. He was determined to find his royal master and 
to settle the matter by a personal interview, for he alone 
had not surrendered Bristol and he felt that he should not 
be held responsible for the disaster. His decision to sur- 



140 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

render had been forced by the other general who had been 
cooped up with him in the town. So, with a body of eighty 
followers, he rode at Banaburg ; was there joined by Prince 
Maurice; and then pressed on through the heart of the 
enemy to Newark where the King w^as residing. The two 
Princes were attacked by several bands of cavalry on the 
way, but they defeated these and arrived in safety at the 
court. Here they were received with cold indifference and 
were treated with such aversion that Rupert demanded a 
court-martial in order that he might exonerate himself 
from blame. A hearing vvas granted him, and, after a 
short trial, he was entirely freed from all guilt or act of 
infideHty to his liege and master. 

In spite of this, the King refused to become reconciled 
to the courageous ca^•alryman, and treated him with the 
greatest coldness and disdain. At length they became 
reconciled, but it was now too late for him to be of any 
further service to his vacillating uncle. With his army 
defeated and humiliated, the King was forced to flee to the 
Scots for protection; an act which ended the war. Ru- 
pert's cavalry was disbanded and the work of a great cav- 
alry leader had ended. 

With the close of these hostilities ends the career of the 
impetuous Prince Rupert, as a leader of cavalry. Forced 
to flee the country, he was not destined to again charge at 
the head of a troop of red-cloaked horsemen, for King 
Charles was soon beheaded. His death ended the bloody 
conflict which had waged between the rival political fac- 
tions. The people had triumphed and for a time no King 
sat upon the throne of England. Instead of this form cf 
rule, a Protectorate, with Oliver Cromwell at its head, 



PRINCE RUPERT 141 

governed with an austere severity. The CavaHers escaped 
from the country : some to Scotland, some to Europe, and 
some to America. Rupert himself sailed for France, where 
he was warmly welcomed by Louis XIV, who entrusted 
him with the command of all the fugitive Cavaliers who 
had found a refuge there. 

Yet a man of such vitality and courage could not long 
remain inactive. Soon he was again participating in 
English warfare, but not in that upon land. Strange as it 
may seem to us at this time of special training, Rupert's 
subsequent career was as commander of war-ships and not 
of cavalry, for when King Charles was in hiding upon the 
Isle of Wight ; the dashing Prince was placed in command 
of three, large men-of-war. Admiral Blake was in charge 
of the vessels of the Roundhead party and so outnumbered 
Rupert's small fleet that he had to put to sea in order to 
avoid capture. Pursued by the intrepid Blake, he made 
off for the coast of Spain, only to suffer the misfortune of 
having the vessels scattered by a tornado. His own ship 
escaped and was steered to the West Indies, where for a 
time he engaged in successful buccaneering. Eventually 
he returned to France; rich in prize money and nautical 
experience, and there lived a somewhat retired life, occupy- 
ing himself with chemical experiments in a small labora- 
tory of his own. Although attempting to discover the 
Philosopher's Stone, he was not to gain fame by the solu- 
tion of this problem, which then occupied the minds of 
most European scholars. Instead of this he created some 
notoriety by the invention of a new kind of gunpowder; 
a hydraulic engine; and an improvement on the naval 
quadrant. A man of such a keen and capable mind has 



142 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

seldom been eminent as a leader of light horse. He was 
endowed with talents most unusual and extraordinary. 

The English people called the son of the beheaded 
Charles I to the throne, after the death of Oliver Cromwell, 
and hailed him with transports of joy. Rupert now re- 
turned to England, where he was immediately shown the 
honour and respect due to such a loyal subject of the first 
King. He was appointed King's Private Councillor and 
Governor of Windsor Castle ; was given command of one- 
half of the English fleet in the war between his adopted 
land and Holland in 1672 ; and conducted himself as ably 
on the quarter-deck as he had when at the head of a flying 
squadron of dragoons. In 1672 he defeated the Dutch 
Admiral Van Tromp, who commanded the " Royal 
Charles" and returned to an existence of quiet ease and 
study at Windsor Castle, after the close of the war with 
Holland. The remaining days of his life were spent at the 
Old Tower of Windsor, surrounded by chemicals, strange 
implements, and books. His death took place on the 29th 
of November, 1682, when in the sixty-third year of his life, 
and he was buried with much pomp and ceremony in 
Henry VH's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. In a letter 
preserved to our own time, there is a great tribute paid to 
his character and attainments in his later years. " In 
respect to his private Hfe," it reads, " he was so just, so 
beneficent, so courteous, that his memory remained dear 
to all who knew him. This I say of my own knowledge, 
having often heard old people in Berkshire speak in rap- 
tures of Prince Rupert. He was a Prince among Princes, 
a noble man among noble men. Such another will Eng- 
land not behold for many a day." 




GENERAL ZIETHEN 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN: THE PRUSSIAN 
WAR HORSE 

[1699 — 1786] 

A GERMAN Inn Keeper stood bowing and scraping 
before the doorway of his little hostelry, where a 
trim-looking, Prussian Officer was dismounting 
from his charger. 

" Give me a bed," said the soldier. " I have ridden far 
already, and I am so weary that I do not wish to sup, before 
retiring." 

The Inn Keeper bowed still lower. 

" That you can have, at once, Herr General," he an- 
swered. " Come right away with me and I will show you 
to the softest of couches in all Prussia." 

And soon he had led the weary officer to a small chamber 
upon the second floor. 

" Thanks," grunted the soldier, and without more ado, 
he lay down upon the bed with all his clothes on. " Good 
night, Mr. Landlord, please shut the door," he said, as 
the surprised Inn Keeper withdrew. 

The tired Prussian closed his eyes and began to doze 
when suddenly he felt something moving near his feet. 
This something began to wrap itself around them — so it 
seemed — but it did not disturb the stohd man of war. 

" What do I care if snakes are in the room," he muttered 
143 



144 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

drowsily. " I will draw up my feet and sleep," and in a 
few moments he was lost in such sound slumber that the 
light of another day was streaming into his face when he 
awoke. He had soon splashed some cold water into his 
eyes and was down stairs, where he found the Landlord 
busily preparing the breakfast for the house. As he saw 
the rotund Inn- Keeper, he suddenly remembered the 
incident of the night before. 

" Mr. Landlord," he thundered, " What do you mean 
by having serpents in your bed-room? " 

The good fellow looked aghast. 

"Serpents? Serpents? Herr General ? " he asked. 

" Yes, serpents, you rascal. When I fell asleep last night 
I felt one coil himself around my leg." 

The Landlord's face was ghastly pale. 

" Come, let us look to find these serpents," he said as he 
rushed up- stairs. 

Soon he was in the room in which the soldier had slept. 
The General could hear his heavy foot-steps from below, 
as he walked about, and, suddenly he was startled by a 
loud cry. 

" I have found it. Those serpents ! " the Landlord 
called. 

In a moment more, he was standing before the old, 
Prussian General, with a small, furry something in his 
hand. 

" Here, General, are these serpents ! " he said, and 
opening his fingers, he disclosed the body of a tiny squirrel. 

No wonder that the fiery General was so abashed that 
he left as soon as possible ; and no wonder that some of 
his hussars christened General Ziethen (The Prussian 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 145 

War Horse) " Old Serpents ! " for it was Frederick the 
Great's most able cavalryman to whom this strange ad- 
venture had occurred. 

Frederick the Great loved this General as he would a 
brother, for they fought together in many an arduous 
campaign, when Prussia was attacked on all sides by her 
enemies, and when the fortunes of this monarch were 
often trembling in the balance. King Frederick was one 
of the men who make epochs in the history of war and 
nations; his life was one great struggle with his neigh- 
bours ; and Ziethen — his beloved cavalryman — was in 
as many desperate batdes as has ever been the lot of any 
man. He was wounded, cut and sabred a number of 
times, but seemed to thrive on rough treatment, and lived 
to the ripe, old age of eighty-six. 

Ziethen's father was a Prussian country gentlemen in 
very needy circumstances; so needy, in fact, that his 
little son had no schooling, at all, until he was thirteen 
years of age. Then his parents procured a young tutor 
to instruct him in the rudiments of history, of mathe- 
matics, and of the languages, but he was a man whom the 
boy did not respect because of his intemperate habits. 
They got along together without any serious breach until 
a certain day when the tutor demanded that young Ziethen 
should run upon an errand for him. This irritated the 
youthful cavalryman tremendously. 

" Run on an errand for you? " he said. " Why, you 
are employed by my parents to teach me, and, only for 
that." 

But this retort enraged the tutor beyond measure, 
and, seizing a stout switch, he was prepared to chastise his 



146 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

young charge, when the father of the boy suddenly entered 
the room, 

" Why — what does this mean? " he asked, in alarm, 
as he looked at the scene before him. 

His son was the first to break the silence. 

" Father," he said, " the man whom you engaged for 
my tutor is not only an intemperate fellow, but he de- 
mands that I should go upon errands for him, and this I 
will not stand." 

" Quite right, my son, quite right," old Ziethen an- 
swered. " I have only to-day learned of your tutor's 
lapses in morals." Then turning to the irate school- 
master, he said : 

" You are dismissed, henceforth. INIy son shall never 
do the bidding of such a man as you." 

And the discomforted man-of- learning withdrew, while 
young Ziethen received the warm embraces of a parent, 
who had the same spirit of fairness and the same moral 
uprightness as he, himself, possessed. 

In spite of this courageous spirit, the youthful Ziethen 
was of small stature and unhealthy look, so that, when he 
applied for the position of standard bearer in a force of 
cavalry, he was the joke of the whole regiment, and every 
one ridiculed his personal appearance. But he received 
the appointment and took up his labours as a soldier, 
with ambitious courage. 

As his first duty was to present himself to his command- 
ing officer, he donned his new uniform and went to see 
him at his residence. Ushered in by a servant, he soon 
stood before the door of his superior in command : General 
de Schwendy, who looked up from a book which he was 
reading, and said, 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 147 

" Pray what do you want, my man ? Speak ! And 
speak loud ! " 

Young Ziethen was too abashed to reply immediately, 
and finally sputtered, 

" I have come to pay my respects to you." 

" Well, pay them then, and right quick, too," roared the 
General, which so disconcerted the young soldier that he 
withdrew immediately, so humiliated, that he was never 
able to forget this scene, and even in his old age could not 
speak of it without the keenest indignation. " Such 
rudeness," he often said, " it has never been my bad 
fortune to again be subjected to." Shortly after this 
episode he resigned from the army. 

But in spite of the fact that he had been ridiculed, 
abased, and snubbed when a young soldier, he soon grew 
tired of the life upon his father's farm — to which he had 
retired — and determined to again enter the service, if it 
were possible. With this idea in view he would go almost 
daily to Berlin in his uniform and linger near the Palace, 
where the reigning monarch, Frederick William I, resided. 
One day the King observed him. 

" Why, my man, how is it that you are here in uniform 
and not with your regiment? " he asked. 

" It is because I have resigned from the army." 

"Resigned?" said the King. "Then your uniform 
should be in your clothes-press. Good day, sir." 

Stung by this added insult, Ziethen was now over- 
anxious to again procure a commission, and, with this 
object in mind, determined to once more accost the 
worthy monarch who had so upbraided him. As luck 
would have it, he one day met him upon the parade 
ground in Berlin. 



148 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" Your Majesty," he said, " I have not placed my 
uniform in a clothes-press, because I hoped to soon be 
called upon to defend my country under your command." 

" Hah ! " answered the King, smiling. " You wish to 
fight, do you. Well, I'll give you plenty of it." And turn- 
ing to one of his aids he bade him take down the name of 
this martial-spirited citizen. In a week Ziethen was again 
in the army as a fourth Lieutenant in Wuthenlow's dra- 
goons. 

This time his career was far more favourable than before, 
and he soon had won the admiration of his superior 
officers, by his strict attention to duty and his zeal and 
interest in military affairs. After fighting several duels 
with brother officers, as is customary in the Prussian 
service, and suffering several fines and imprisonments, he 
was advanced to the command of a company of hussars, 
" on condition that he should behave himself in an orderly 
manner, and that his superior officer would keep a 
watchful eye over him." So excellent was his conduct that 
he was soon made Captain of a regiment and was marched 
to the banks of the Rhine to engage in the campaign 
against France, a country that had violated a treaty with 
Austria and Prussia, by taking possession of the fortress 
of Kehl. After assisting in several skirmishes and attacks, 
Ziethen begged to be allowed to make a trial of the strength 
and courage of his little command, against the enemy. 
He was directed, by his commanding officer, to pass through 
a small valley between two, high hills ; to flank the French 
troops; alarm their quarters; and to retreat before they 
could collect their forces for a counter attack. 

When the word was given to advance, the hussars — • 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 149 

accompanied by some Austrian troops — broke into the 
French camp, without being perceived ; threw the enemy 
into wild disorder; and made several prisoners. In the 
meanwhile the adjacent posts of French infantry took the 
alarm ; united ; and marched against the attacking party. 
Seeing that this was the proper time to retreat ; the Aus- 
trians — who had come up with Ziethen's men — fell 
back in good order. But the hussars kept their ground 
with an obstinacy which nearly proved fatal to them. 
They soon were surrounded by the enemy. 

"Courage, soldiers!" shouted Ziethen. "We must 
now cut our way out with the cold steel. To the defile in 
our rear, and retreat through the hills as we came." 

The soldiers greeted this counsel with a cheer; turned 
their horses about ; and rushed into the French ranks with 
so much impetuosity, that they cut their way clear and 
were soon hurrying through the pass in the high ground. 
So favourably did the King view this charge that Ziethen 
was immediately advanced to the rank of Major, " in 
consideration of his good qualities, the military experience 
that he had acquired, and the vigilance and courage which 
he had manifested." 

This campaign procured both glory, experience and 
advancement for Ziethen, who apparently had gained the 
confidence of the King to an extraordinary degree, as he 
was sent to Vienna on secret business, and was treated with 
much distinction at court. The King died in 1740, and 
upon the accession of his son, Frederick the Second (or 
the Great) the Major of hussars began to fear that his 
splendid prospects for advancement would vanish. But 
Frederick had soon good need of him, for a general war 



150 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

was inevitable. Several European powers made preten- 
sions to a portion of what he considered to be his own 
territory, and so, in a few months, Ziethen and his hussars 
were in the midst of a busy campaign, which ended most 
successfully for the Prussian Monarch. 

At the beginning of June, of the following year, when 
de Wurm, the Colonel of Hussars, was ordered to observe 
the position of the enemy, and, on his way, to spy upon 
them, he met a patrol of some hundred light-horse, whom 
he attacked and dispersed. He pursued them to the 
entrance of a small valley, and, seeing that they halted 
and faced about, he likewise halted and did not press for- 
ward. The Austrian flankers began to harass him con- 
siderably, and, at this, Ziethen became quite angry. So 
enraged did he become, that he could no longer contain 
himself, and cried out : " Colonel de Wurm, will you not 
put these audacious fellows to flight ? " 

His superior officer looked coldly at him. 

" Why don't you do it yourself, since you are so bold ? " 
he replied. " Are you not at the head of your squadron ? " 

" I'll do it right willingly," said Ziethen, " If you 
promise to support me." 

" I promise," de Wurm answered. 

So giving the word to march, Ziethen fell upon the enemy 
with his squadron and pursued them far beyond the 
valley; fully persuaded that de Wurm had remained 
where he had left him, as he had promised. At length, 
having taken several prisoners, and convinced that a 
strong force was surrounding him, he began to think of 
making a retreat; sure that he would have de Wurm's 
aid to fall back upon. But alas ! that officer had retired 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 151 

to a neighbouring village, completely ignoring Ziethen 
and his squadron. 

When Ziethen had retreated to the valley's mouth and 
discovered that no reinfor ements were there, his heart 
sank. But he determined to put on a bold front, and, 
calling back his flankers, closed up his ranks. While a 
part of his troops passed through the valley, he furiously 
charged the enemy at the head of his men ; thus gaining 
sufficient time and ground to make good the retreat. Not 
a single man vi^as lost, and not a prisoner escaped during 
this bold manoeuvre. 

Colonel de Wurm was standing upon a sidewalk of the 
street, in the village to which he had withdrawn; when 
Ziethen arrived with his prisoners and squadron. Upon 
seeing the Prussian Colonel, the hot blood rushed to 
Ziethen's head. 

" You deserted me, you coward," he called, " and in the 
very moment when I most needed you." 

De Wurm made no reply. He was exasperated and 
ashamed at seeing his subordinate's successful escape from 
danger. 

" Coward, again I say, sir," shouted Ziethen, and, as 
he spoke, de Wurm drew his sword and rushed upon him. 
Ziethen also drew and dealt such a heavy blow that he 
broke down the Colonel's guard and wounded him 
severely. An aid-de-camp now interfered and separated 
the two angry soldiers, who stood glowering at each other 
like two wolves at bay. In a short while they were per- 
suaded to go to their own quarters. 

Colonel de Wurm was confined to his tent, more through 
anger and shame than through his wound, when the parole 



152 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

of the day was to be delivered to King Frederick; so 
Ziethen, who was next in command, appeared in his place. 
He was all prepared to make a report of the late expedition, 
when the King perceived that the Colonel was absent, and 
cried out, 

" Hah, my good Ziethen, where is Colonel de Wurm ? " 

" He is indisposed, sire," replied his cavalryman, " due 
to the sting from a maddened hornet." 

The King seemed to regard this answer as satisfactory. 
"Make your report, then," he said, and after he had heard 
it, he rode away, well-pleased, and little suspecting the 
trouble between his two gallant cavalrymen. 

Shortly afterwards Ziethen was raised to the position of 
Major, and then to that of Colonel — a most extraordinarily 
rapid advancement in the Prussian army — and, in ad- 
dition to this, a regiment was created in his favour. But 
he well deserved this honour, and soon afterwards, showed 
that he was quite worthy of such royal favour. 

Frederick the Great had seen that it was necessary for 
him to increase the numbers of his light troops, and so had 
commissioned a certain Colonel to form a corps of Uhlans 
in Prussia and to march them into Silesia, where he was at 
war with the Austrians. When the newly-created corps 
arrived at camp — although they were young men and 
inexperienced in warfare — the whole army was struck 
with the jaunty appearance of the recruits and the beauty 
of their horses. The King, himself, praised their brave 
showing and said that he expected more from them than 
from the hussars, themselves ; adding that he would soon 
give them an opportunity to show what they could do. 
Consequently he dispatched them upon an expedition to 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 153 

attack the enemy, taking, at the same time, the precaution 
to direct Colonel Ziethen to lie in an ambuscade near the 
place of battle, and to render no aid to them, if all went 
well, but, in case of a repulse, to rush to their support with 
his hussars. The outcome of the affair showed that he 
wisely planned the manoeuvre. 

When the Uhlans — armed with long pikes, or spears — 
rushed upon the enemy; the Austrians immediately saw 
that they were young men with whom they had to contend. 
So, with derisive jeers, they closed in upon them, 
soon threw them into confusion, and began to hem them 
in on all sides. The youthful Uhlans turned to fly, and, as 
they did so, their pikes often caught in the ground, unseat- 
ing the riders, and causing the horses to stumble and fall. 
Soon, everything was in terrible confusion, and the young 
recruits would have all been taken prisoners, had not 
Ziethen perceived the condition of affairs, from his hiding 
place, and ordered his hussars to gallop to the attack. 
With a loud cheer, his cavalrymen swept down upon the 
Austrians, bore them aside in their furious onslaught, and 
threw them into so much confusion, that they turned and 
fled. Then Ziethen rode back to his own camp, presenting 
to the King the regiment which he had just saved, and 
which, without his unexpected aid, would have been totally 
annihilated. The loss which these Uhlans, or pikemen, 
had sustained, and the ill success which had attended 
their first charge, induced King Frederick to transfonn 
them into hussars, armed with pistols and sabres, and with 
this equipment, they soon wiped out the disgrace of their 
first encounter. 

Frederick was a monarch who possessed the art of re- 



154 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

warding and encouraging the soldiers, and this secret 
alone, irrespective of his other accomplishments, was 
sufficient to gain and secure the affection of his army. 
Perceiving that Ziethen was a poor man and of such high 
character, that he would not plunder the needy and weak, 
he repeatedly hinted to him that he had it in his power to 
make his own fortune. But the young officer would not 
employ the arms he bore for his self-interest until ordered 
to do so by his sovereign, when starting upon the second 
Silesian campaign. 

" My dear Colonel Ziethen," ran the letter which he 
received. " My intention is that during your cantonment 
on the frontier of Hungary, you levy, by way of contribu- 
tion, one thousand and six dollars for yourself, and three 
hundred for each Captain ; which sums are destined to the 
purpose of defraying expenses for your winter quarters. 
You will, however, only make your levies upon such places 
as lie immediately along the frontier. 

" Frederick. 

^'Solent 2, March T,oth, 1742." 

In spite of this epistle from his sovereign, Ziethen left 
the country without robbing a single village, and sacrificed 
the improvement of his fortune for the high opinion and 
respect of the inhabitants. He was beloved by all with 
whom he came in contact, and respected both by rich and 
poor; and so zealously did he employ his time in the 
perfection of his regiment, that, at the beginning of the 
second Silesian war in which King Frederick was soon 
engaged, his hussars were acknowledged to be the best 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 155 

drilled and most splendidly equipped of all the King 's 
soldiers. 

While the Prussian army was marching against Prague, 
a surprise was attempted by the Austrians and Saxons, 
as King Frederick's troops were approaching a bridge. 
Placing a number of cannon upon the opposite bank from 
that upon which the Prussian army stood, the Saxon 
cannoneers threw such quantities of shells into the ad- 
vancing host, that it seemed as if the Prussians must be 
defeated. But — at this moment — brave Ziethen placed 
himself at the head of two squadrons of his hussars, and 
charged across the bridge with so much vigour, that the 
hostile gunners were forced to seek safety in flight. Ziethen 
had his horse shot under him ; when a subaltern — per- 
ceiving his discomfort — presented his own mount to him, 
saying, " Take this. General, you are of far more use when 
mounted than when dismounted, and I am of no value at 
all, in comparison with you." But to this the brave 
Prussian replied, 

" Keep' your horse, comrade; you are an Austrian 
deserter. I well recognize you, and if you are taken you 
will be hanged. Make haste to remount and do not think 
of my interests, but of your own." 

As a matter of fact, such the fellow turned out to be, 
and later — as the good Ziethen raced away upon another 
animal, which he had captured — he saw the subaltern 
fighting upon the other side. 

So gratified v^^as the King by the conduct of his gallant 
cavalryman in this affair, that he mounted his horse, and 
rode to meet Ziethen and his brave troops, as they returned 
from the field. He congratulated them upon their valour 



156 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

and spoke to his General in terms of consideration and 
love, and, placing himself before them, led the troop in 
triumph through the whole camp. As they passed by, 
all the soldiers rushed from their tents and cried, " Long 
live the King ! Long live the gallant Ziethen and his 
courageous hussars ! " 

Appreciating the worth of his cavalryman. King Fred- 
erick determined to utilize him in a very dangerous and 
exacting errand. This was to penetrate the lines of the 
enemy, and deliver to the Margrave Charles — his ally — 
certain orders which it was necessary for him to receive in 
order to properly co-operate with the Prussian army, in a 
fierce attack which he soon intended to make upon the 
Austrians. At the time when he issued these orders. King 
Frederick also told Ziethen to inform every man in his 
regiment of this order, so that if they could not make their 
way through the Austrian posts, each hussar who escaped 
a bad defeat, could tell the margrave of his majesty's 
intentions. 

In order to carry out these intentions, Ziethen determined 
to make his own hussars pass as Austrians, and to lead 
them in broad daylight through the lines of the enemy. 
As his soldiers were still wearing their summer dress, which 
consisted of red mantles and felt caps, and much resembled 
those worn by an Austrian, cavalry regiment, he hoped 
that his men would be taken for friends, instead of foes. 
The success of his plan depended, of course, upon the 
secrecy with which it was conducted, and so, without in- 
forming anyone of his intentions, Ziethen began his 
hazardous march. 

Arriving in safety at the village of Neustadt, the regi- 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 157 

ment was drawn up in the market place, while Ziethen, 
himself, climbed up to the top of a steeple in order to 
observe the retreat of the enemy, whom he saw entering 
their camp in two, separate columns. The discovery of 
this induced him to avail himself of the opportunity it 
afforded of following one of these columns under the 
appearance of being one of it, because of the red uniforms 
of his hussars. It was a dangerous undertaking. Should 
the ruse be discovered, he would be immediately sur- 
rounded and cut to pieces. But the fact that this was a 
hazardous undertaking seemed to stimulate his courage, 
rather than to repress it, and besides, it was the only 
feasible way of obtaining what he was after. 

So, without more ado, the regiment marched after the 
retreating Austrians, taking the same route which one of 
the columns had gone over. Express orders were given 
not to draw sabres or fire, before the word of command 
was given, and a few straggling Hussars — who were 
natives of Hungary — were sent before the rest — so that 
they could carelessly salute, in their own language, the 
Austrian sentinels whom they passed. As they marched 
quietly along the road, a regiment of dragoons saw them, 
without having the slightest suspicion who they were. 

About three o'clock Ziethen found that he was in the 
centre of the Austrian camp and the whole country was 
covered with the red mantles of the Austrian cavalry. 
As the squadrons advanced they were ordered to keep 
close together, so that in case they should be discovered, 
they could easily force their way to a safe retreat. But, so 
far, there was no suspicion who they were, and, so great 
was this lack of knowledge that the Colonel of the regiment 



158 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

which followed them, pushed forward his horse in order to 
inform General Ziethen that his own dragoons were close 
behind him. Imagine his surprise, when, he was suddenly 
taken prisoner ! He was overwhelmed with astonishment 
and hardly able to persuade himself of his error, until he 
was politely but firmly requested to accompany the Prus- 
sian cavalry upon their hazardous journey. They still 
advanced in a leisurely and most tranquil manner. 

Surrounded, on all sides, by the enemy, the Prussians 
approached the camp, when suddenly the dragoons in the 
rear, wheeled, in order to make for their own tents. As 
they did so, Ziethen's red mantles continued their march 
onward and this was immediately perceived by the Aus- 
trians. A few hostile cavalrymen rushed wildly away, 
shouting, " Here is Ziethen ! The Prussians are upon 
us ! " The alarm spread over the camp, and soon all the 
soldiers there were in arms. A number of outpost soldiers 
endeavoured to block the passage of Ziethen's men, but 
they were soon beaten back, and, upon a hard gallop, the 
Prussian cavalry dashed past those who would stay their 
passage. 

Still skirmishing, Ziethen kept along the highway and 
continued to gain ground upon his pursuers. As he 
dashed furiously forward, an Austrian officer was cut 
down from his horse and lay upon the ground directly 
beneath the General's feet. But, at this instant, the 
Prussian recognized the fallen soldier as an old comrade in 
the campaign on the Rhine, and as the Austrian called 
him by name and implored him not to put an end to his 
life, the General ordered a hussar to extricate him from his 
horse and set him at liberty. A kind action, indeed, at a 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 159 

moment of danger, and one that well exemplified his 
humanity and justice ! 

Still passing onward, he soon came in sight of the town 
of Jagerndorf , where was the Margrave whom he had been 
sent to find. It was a hand-to-hand fight all the way and 
the Austrians fought doggedly to capture a portion of the 
Prussian regiment. And in this they were nearly success- 
ful, for a regiment of cuirassiers, belonging to the Mar- 
grave's forces, had come out to assist Ziethen's men, only 
to be badly beaten by a number of Croats, who drove them 
pell-mell upon the retreating Prussians. For a while 
everything was mixed up in a bad tangle, and it seemed as 
if Ziethen himself might be captured. But, although far 
spent, the red-cloaked hussars made a passage through 
the surrounding Austrians — by dint of sword thrusts and 
pistols — and at last, arrived at Jagerndorf, where they 
were received with all the joy and admiration due them for 
their courage and good fortune. 

An episode which occurred not long after this, heightened 
Ziethen's fame still more and made him the most talked 
of man in the Prussian army. A major in his regiment 
formed a plan of great boldness, consisting of an attempt 
to carry off a whole regiment of Uhlans camped near by. 
To assist him in this enterprise, he secured another officer 
with two hundred horse, and, as he himself took an equal 
number, it was quite a little troop which rode away for 
this hazardous undertaking. Ziethen knew that these 
were both brave soldiers and good fighters, but he also 
remembered that they both possessed hot tempers and 
impetuous natures. So, in order that they might make no 
false step, he followed them with his regiment — without 



160 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

their knowledge of it ■ — and lay in ambush in a wood on 
the road to Koniginngratz. 

It was well that he had done so, for the two Prussian 
officers surprised the body of Uhlans; killed some; took 
several prisoners ; and dispersed the rest towards the town. 
But — unable to check their fiery ardour — they rushed 
after the fugitives and were soon near the fortifications of 
the town, itself, where the garrison quickly came out to 
punish them. The Uhlans, too, resumed their lost courage, 
and, turning about, had soon surrounded the Prussians 
with a determined line of men. It looked black for the 
once victorious hussars of King Frederick's army, for 
they would soon be either obliged to surrender or be cut to 
pieces. 

At this moment Ziethen gave the word to quit the am- 
bush, and, with a wild cheer, his soldiers rushed to the 
assistance of their comrades. " Forward for King Fred- 
erick and Old Ziethen ! " they called, as with drawn sabre 
and pistol, they quickly galloped into the midst of the 
Austrians. The mere sight of brave Ziethen struck the 
enemy with panic and threw them into disorder. " Ziethen 
is here ! " they cried, " Back, back to the town ! " and, 
dropping their prisoners, they were soon hurrying to- 
wards Koniginngratz. The prisoners were set free; the 
two majors were rescued from their distress; and an 
expedition terminated gloriously which looked as if it 
would end only in defeat and dishonour. 

Unfortunately for General Ziethen, he was soon unable 
to take further part in the war, as one of his hussars was 
carelessly firing off his gun, after the battle ; and the ball — 
instead of wounding an enemy — pierced the calf of the 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 161 

cavalry leader's leg. This obliged him to leave the army 
for some time, and made it impossible for him to take part 
in several important engagements which followed. An 
admirer says: "In this war Ziethen had acquired new 
claims for admiration and esteem. He had shown him- 
self able to cope with the greatest commanders of the age. 
Uniting wisdom with courage, contempt of danger with 
perseverance; dexterity with presence of mind; and 
activity with the most perfect command of temper, he 
conceived his plans with the progressiveness of the rising 
storm and executed them with the rapidity of the thunder- 
bolt. Unrufifled in the heat of battle ; singularly accurate 
and concise in giving his orders; foreseeing everything; 
prepared for everything; he was invariably able to turn 
the circumstances of the moment to advantage. Were the 
enemy to be attacked ? — his station was in the van. Was 
it expedient to withdraw from action ? ■ — it was he who 
covered the retreat. His name acquired universal celebrity ; 
he was justly ranked among the most distinguished 
generals of the Prussian army; and considered as the 
model of a victorious hero." 

There was now a period of inaction for the Prussian 
troops and seven years of peace before the Third Silesian 
war. In this time Frederick the Great grew highly dis- 
satisfied with several of his generals and even extended 
his ill humour upon many of the margraves and princes of 
the blood. At the reviews of the army he frequently treated 
them so outrageously that a few believed that he had 
totally forgotten the services which they had rendered him. 
Towards Ziethen he seemed to extend a special ill-will, and 
one day — after he had reviewed his regiment of hussars — 



162 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he remarked, " Your men are detestable, General Ziethen, 
and march like a lot of country boobies on parade. They 
remind me of unHcked bears, and should not appear in 
public until they learn the rudiments of the art of marching. 
Begone, with your country louts. I've had enough of 
you ! " 

Ziethen Hstened to this outburst with respectful silence, 
and then thrust his sword into his scabbard, exclaiming, 
" Sire, though we are good for nothing at the present day, 
yet there was a time in which we did our duty ; as long as 
there was any need of our services, we were, it seems, 
worth something." 

" Yes," replied the great Frederick. " You were then 
worth much, but, at present you have become remiss and I 
would sooner have a lot of jack tars to help me win my 
battles." 

Ziethen remained silent at this and said no more of the 
affair, although he deeply felt the sting of this rebuff. A 
few weeks later, the King held other manoeuvres, and, 
during, the course of them, ordered Ziethen's regiment to 
charge. This the hussars did in a splendid manner, but 
Frederick was much incensed at their actions. " I'll see 
no more of this bungling," he called to Ziethen. " Away 
all of you ! " Scarcely had he uttered these words than his 
brave cavalryman, taking the words in their literal sense, 
left the field at the head of his regiment and marched 
directly to Berlin — where he remained for a week sulking 
in sullen ill humour. This so incensed his monarch that 
for the seven years of peace he did not speak to him and re- 
fused to advance him in rank. Finally — when war broke 
out afresh — he was only too willing to overlook this affair 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 163 

— and calling upon his old warrior in his home — he 
took him in his arms, saying, " Come, go with me to the 
front, my brave Ziethen. Let what has passed between us 
be forgotten. It was I who was to blame and it is I who 
have felt this estrangement more than you." 

This third Silesian war began in August, 1756, and 
threatened the Prussian empire with devastation and ruin. 
But Frederick was equal to the occasion, and — with the 
help of his brave army — rose triumphant from the deluge 
which seemed to be about to overwhelm him. At the 
famous battle of Prague, Ziethen was a veritable meteor 
of courageous fire. To him and his brave hussars belong 
the credit for turning the tide of battle at a most critical 
period; for, in command of the corps of reserve, he had 
been told not to join in the attack, and did so only because 
his military sense warned him that to disobey orders meant 
victory. The infantry had been beaten back as he ad- 
vanced, and it looked like defeat and utter rout for the 
Prussian army. 

But Ziethen was equal to the occasion, and addressing 
the retreating troops in a calm and resolute manner, he 
exhorted them to form themselves again in line, and to 
return to the attack upon the enemy. As he spoke, a 
column of dust began to raise, and, as it came near, a body 
of hussars was seen, hastening to the relief of their com- 
rades. Pointing to it, he said, 

" Soldiers, the defeat which you have sustained is a 
disastrous event for King Frederick. Here come the 
hussars to your assistance. Forward for Prussia and the 
King ! Forward, and repair the mischief you have done ! " 

Having pronounced these words in a firm and resolute 



164 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

voice, he put himself at the head of these troops, with 
drawn sabre in hand, crying, " March ! " and soon the 
inspired soldiers were charging the Austrian infantry wit I; 
a fury that was unwithstandable. The enemy broke and 
fled. 

As Ziethen galloped ahead with a troop of hussars, an 
Austrian General cried out, 

" What, are you all mad? Do you not see that you are 
going to charge a regiment of the line ? " 

" Silence," Ziethen called to his men. " Do your 
work." And in a few moments more, the Austrian regi- 
ment was broken and in full retreat. Soon the entire army 
was dispersed and victory for King Frederick was secure. 
To Ziethen's pluck and courage was tliis mainly due. 

Shortly afterwards — at the battle of Kolin — he was 
ordered to place himself at the head of four regiments of 
heavy horse and to endeavour to carry a strong position, 
held by Austrian infantry, assisted by a battery of artillery. 
This he attempted to do, and, in spite of a strong resistance 
on the part of the enemy, succeeded in penetrating their 
line. The squadrons of Prussian horsemen were pressing 
exultantly onward, and the moment of victory seemed 
surely at hand, when Ziethen was struck by a grape-shot 
which made him reel and drop senseless upon his horse's 
neck. When his troops saw this — although, only a 
moment before they had braved the mouths of the cannon 
— now they were struck dumb with panic and betook 
themselves to flight. 

Had it not been for a young officer, brave Ziethen would 
have been abandoned to the mercy of the enemy. As the 
ball which struck him deprived him of all feeling, he would 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 165 

have fallen from his horse and been trampled to death 
beneath the retreating Prussians, had not the youthful 
officer supported him in the saddle. While he was moving 
away with the lifeless body in his arms, Ziethen's steed 
was again pierced by a fresh discharge of grape-shot which 
knocked him to the ground. As he fell, the young Prus- 
sian cornet suddenly dragged him to a position in front 
of him and galloped away to a coach belonging to Prince 
Maurice — an ally of Frederick the Great. In this, the 
renowned General of Cavalry was drawn away — out of 
range of the enemy's shells — and to the care of a well- 
known army surgeon, who quickly dressed his wounds. 
For months he was unable to rejoin his troops, while the 
brave cuirassier, who had conveyed him through so many 
dangers, was rewarded most abundantly by Frederick the 
Great. 

This would have kept many a less war-like man from the 
front, but it did not dampen the spirits of the courageous 
General Ziethen. As soon as his wound would permit it, 
he was again back to his regiment and as active in the 
campaign as before the accident. But the tide had begun 
to turn against Frederick's army, and so perturbed were 
some of his Generals, that — at a council of war — a few 
suggested a retreat. At this Ziethen's eyes began to 
sparkle with the gleam of anger, and when he was asked 
his opinion of such a proceeding, he replied with vehe- 
mence, 

" Would you have our soldiers lose the small remains of 
courage that they still possess? Would you deprive the 
King of his army ? Do you not suppose that such a retreat, 
which it would be hard to distinguish from a flight, would 



166 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

not make every soldier believe that the situation were 
desperate ? And, upon that supposition, how would you be 
able to prevent desertion? How secure the artillery, the 
provisions, the baggage ? For my own part I shall never 
assent to such ill-concerted measures. Let us give the men 
time to reflect upon this falling back — a day at least — 
then, when all had been explained to them let us withdraw 
gradually and without ceasing to exhibit a bold front? " 

In spite of this harangue the Prussians fell back; but, 
being reinforced by King Frederick, soon came in contact 
with the enemy in a battle, where Ziethen — at the head of 
his cavalry — completely broke the ranks of the Austrian 
horse; pursued and hemmed in the fugitives; and sig- 
nally routed them, — an event which secured a thorough 
victory for the Prussian army. The General of cavalry 
was urged by the King to pursue the enemy, " Lose not a 
moment," Frederick wrote him, " pursue them incessantly. 
The country must furnish you bread." And so well did 
Ziethen follow this counsel that the Austrians were utterly 
broken and dispersed. 

Afterwards he was cut off at Dohmstadel with a convoy 
of troops and barely escaped with his life ; was engaged in 
many hazardous charges; often covered the Prussian 
army in its counter marches and retreats ; and conducted 
himself with so much bravery, that King Frederick wrote 
to him, and said, 

" My dear Lieutenant-General de Ziethen : — 

"I hereby inform you, that instead of the stipulated 
allowance for winter quarters, I have assigned you fifteen 
hundred dollars, which you will receive from the military 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 167 

chest. I sincerely wish that circumstances permitted me to 
express my satisfaction in a more efficacious manner. I 
acknowledge, as I ought, your many and indefatigable 
services. Be assured I shall never forget them, and that 
on every occasion I shall be happy to show you, how much 
I am your afifectionate King, 

" Frederick." 

Such was the reputation which he obtained that the 
Austrians became fearful of attacking him, at least, with 
equal force. After one battle his sabre had been used so 
freely upon the enemies of his country that his attendant- 
hussar had a difficult task to clean it, which was good 
witness to the part he personally took in the charges of 
cavalry. So beloved was he by his soldiers that they would 
cheer when he rode by upon his horse, and he had only to 
say " Forward " in order to inspire them with zeal and 
courage. 

To prevent and put an end to murmurs of discontent 
among his men he would often visit the ranks, on foot, as 
well as on horseback, and invite the soldiers to come out of 
their tents. " Well, comrades," he would say, " What 
are you doing there ? " As soon as his voice was heard the 
privates would appear and would shout, " Long live our 
good father, Ziethen ! " " Well," he would reply, " And 
how do things go on with you ? " 

" Bad enough," was often the answer. 

" Take courage, comrades," he would reply to this. " If 
things go ill to-day, they may grow better to-morrow." 

In this way he often dispelled the cloud that hung over 
the gloomy brows of his men. 



168 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

At the close of the Seven Years' War there had not been 
a large engagement in which Ziethen's regiment had acted 
ill, and there was not an officer belonging to it, who had 
not more or less distinguished himself in pitched battles, 
encounters, and skirmishes. Ziethen himself was the idol 
of the peasantry and common people ; his renown was not 
confined to the limits of his own country; and his name 
was universally linked with that of Frederick the Great. 

The General was low of stature ; thin ; but well built ; 
with an oval face ; dark brown hair ; a flat forehead ; and 
large, blue eyes. His mouth was somewhat wide, his lips 
thick and the under one marked with a deep scar. His eyes 
were full of an expression of fire and his face was serious 
and dignified. He was brisk in his motions ; could use the 
sabre with either hand, and was a splendid horseman. 
Adverse to loquacity, he could say much in a few words. 
His answers were short and precise, and his replies were 
direct and to the point. His whole person showed serenity, 
experience, and firmness of character; commanding at- 
tention, obedience, and respect. 

He was remarkably neat and clean in his apparel and 
was always found with his regimentals on in the early morn- 
ing. As soon as he was dressed it was his custom to say 
his prayers, a duty which he was never known to neglect. 
Frugal in diet, he never took either tea or coffee and ate 
no other vegetable than carrots. He drank either water, 
or a diet-drink which he prepared himself, and so much 
did this strict regime agree with him, that he lived to a hale 
and hearty, old age. 

When the great cavalryman had reached his seventy- 
ninth birthday, war was begun with Bavaria, and, in spite 



OLD FATHER ZIETHEN 169 

of his years, Ziethen plead with King Frederick to be 
allowed to go. But to a letter enclosing this request, the 
King replied, 

" I hasten to inform you how mortified I am to leave you 
in garrison on account of your health, which, as I have 
told you often, will not allow you to go through the labours 
of a campaign. I am convinced of your good will, but no 
man is required to exert himself beyond his powers, and all 
you have now to do is to rest from your past fatigue. I 
remain your very affectionate King, 

*' Frederick." 

It is impossible to describe what the great cavalryman 
felt when he saw the departure of the King and the army 
for the front. On the day when his old regiment left 
Berlin, before sunrise, he was in the city to take leave of 
his men; " his children," as he called them. In a short 
and pathetic speech he exhorted them to be mindful of 
what they owed their country, to their profession and to 
their reputations. And when the soldiers marched by, 
the good, old man shed tears of sorrow. On his return to 
his house and when in the midst of his family, he suddenly 
exclaimed, with a deep sigh, " Alas ! I have now nothing 
to do but to raise a regiment of women ! " 

Several years afterwards, at the age of eighty-six, he 
died, — an event which filled all Prussia with alarm and 
sorrow. Throngs of peasants, nobles, and citizens, 
hastened to see his corpse as it lay in state. Thousands 
of old soldiers gazed wet-eyed upon the well-known 
features of their peerless leader as he thus lay, and fol- 



170 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

lowed the hearse in long lines, as the body of brave Ziethen 
was carried to the family vault in the little village of 
Wustrau. Here a simple tomb- stone marks his last resting- 
place, but on a statue in the park of Rheimsberg, erected to 
Augustus WiUiam of Prussia, is a eulogy to Ziethen, — the 
general who contributed more to his victories than any 
other man. It runs, 

General De Ziethen 
Attained 
« To a Happy and Glorious Old Age; 

Every time he Combatted, 

He Triumphed. 

His military Glance, joined 

To His Heroic Valour, 

Decided the Fate of Battles; 

But What Distinguished Him Still More, 

Was His Integrity, His Disinterestedness, 

And His Contempt For All Such 

As Enriched Themselves at the Expense of Oppressed Nations. 

Finally a statue was erected to the brave, old hero in 
Berlin itself, and here, at the present day, the soldiers of 
united Germany often gaze at the manly features of 
Frederick the Great's spirited cavalry officer, and say, 
" He lived a soldier's Hfe and lived it well. All honour to 
old father Ziethen, and may his noble example ever be a 
guide and model to the defenders of the Fatherland." 




GENERAL BAROX VOX SEYDLITZ 



T--? v„,7 vor.K 



ox ^ D 
TIUDEN FOUNDATIONS. 



FREDERICK WILLIAM BARON VON SEYDLITZ: 
HERO OF THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR 

[1721— 1783] 

FREDERICK the Great rode one day in the 
vicinity of Berlin, and, as he went carelessly along, 
a Hght-haired officer of the Prussian service leaped 
his horse across a high board-fence and joined him. The 
King scowled. 

" General von Seydlitz," he said, " How is it that so 
many men break their necks in your regiment ? Here, 
my chief-of-hospital service submits me a report that more 
soldiers are disabled from your command — in times of 
peace — than in any other of my cavalry regiments. This 
needless waste of human energy must cease." 

The officer whom he had addressed, smiled good 
naturedly. 

" Command me, your Royal Highness," he answered, 
" and I will not teach my soldiers dare-deviltry, but I 
cannot then guarantee that they will fight well. One can 
throw a subaltern in my regiment, and a house cat, from 
a tower, at the same time, and it will not hurt either ; for 
by my constant training I have succeeded in hardening 
my men so that they will be always able to light upon their 
feet." 

This reply was characteristic of the fiery General von 
Seydlitz, who was the greatest dare-devil in all Prussia 
171 



172 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

and acknowledged to be the most fearless horseman of the 
armies which struggled for the possession of Germany, 
during the reign of the great Frederick. Once he was out 
exercising his soldiers when they came to a gentle preacher 
with his wife, who, driving a slow and lazy horse, were 
stuck in the middle of the road. 

" Come, men," shouted von Seydlitz, " I will show you 
how a Prussian General of Cavalry surmounts an ob- 
stacle," and touching his horse sharply with his spurs, he 
rushed towards the timid man-of-God and jumped his 
steed over the vehicle and its occupants, who gaped at the 
flying cavalryman with wonder and amazement. His 
soldiers did not have the nerve to follow. 

The roistering leader of cavalry came by his love of 
horse flesh most naturally, for his father was a Captain of 
Dragoons and of an ancient and noble Turigen family. 
At the age of seven young von Seydlitz could ride a horse, 
which delighted his parent beyond measure. At fourteen 
the Margrave von Schwedt appointed him his page, and 
as this noble-hearted gentleman loved a person of boldness 
and daring, he soon had taught his charge how to stay upon 
a horse's back in any kind of a predicament. 

In the Margrave's preserves were a number of deer 
which were none too tame. They were enclosed behind a 
high, wooden fence and were fed by his attendants. The 
Margrave was very fond of them, and as, one day, he 
watched their beautiful forms, he became imbued with a 
brilliant idea. 

" Here, young von Seydlitz," he called, " You wish to 
be a leader of cavalry, do you not ? Let me see you ride 
one of these deer." 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 173 

" All right," replied the courageous, young man. " It 
shall be as you desire," and, suiting the action to the 
words, he was soon astride one of the Margrave's pets, and 
galloping furiously around the enclosure which held them 
in. 

" Hurray," he shouted. " I can ride the fellow, and I 
shall be one of the greatest riders in all Prussia, some day." 

Not content with this display of horsemanship, the Mar- 
grave soon decided upon another form of teaching for his 
young charge. So, placing him and his son in a coach 
with four horses, he drove out into the fields beyond the 
town, in which he resided, and there ordered the postil- 
ions to dismount. When they had done so, he commanded 
them to beat the horses with their whips. The spirited 
nags immediately began to gallop away, and when they 
had gone some distance, the Margrave shouted, 

" Jump, boys, jump for your hves ! " 

The boys opened the doors and leaped out upon the 
ground without injuring themselves. 

" Well done," called the Margrave, whose lackeys had 
now caught the run-away team. " You will both be cavalry- 
men, some day." 

This adventure was repeated several times, and when 
the teacher of hardihood and courage thought that his 
youths had learned sufficiently well how to extricate them- 
selves from a running carriage, he had another lesson for 
them to learn. Riding one day with von Seydlitz to the 
top of a hill, he pointed to a wind-mill and said, 

" You see that wind-mill, young man. If you are to 
become a cavalry leader you must ride between the sails 
as they go around." 



174 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" It shall be as you say," answered the brave youth, and, 
watching his opportunity, he put spurs to his horse and 
galloped between the revolving wings of the mill. Had 
one struck him he would have been severely injured. 

This feat he often repeated, and when he was much 
older, and in command of a cavalry regiment, insisted 
that his own soldiers should learn to ride between the 
wings of a wind-mill, in order to teach them speed and 
daring. Of this he had shown sufficient to please the 
Margrave when he left his service to become cornet in a 
cuirassier regiment under the command of an officer of 
great strictness. Young von Seydlitz was very popular 
with him and conducted himself so well that he was made 
an officer of ordnance. In this position he was serving at 
the outbreak of the Seven Years' War. 

It was not long before his daring came to the notice of 
King Frederick, who greatly admired boldness and de- 
cision. At a battle with the Austrians, some batteries of 
artillery began to play upon the lines of Prussian troops, 
when the King cried out, " I wonder what kind of shells 
these fellows are using? " 

" Wait, one moment, your Majesty, and I will tell you," 
said von Seydlitz, and galloping forward, he extracted a 
ball of shrapnell from the ground, put it in his handker- 
chief, and brought it to his sovereign, while the Austrians 
endeavoured to lay him low by some well-directed shots. 

" Thank you, brave Cornet," said Frederick. " If you 
continue to distinguish yourself, you will be soon a great 
man." 

Von Seydlitz felt highly flattered by this and was very 
well pleased with himself, until — a short time later — he 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 175 

met with a serious reverse. Ordered to move forward 
from the Prussian army and to hold the village of Krano- 
witz against the Hungarians, he did so, in spite of the fact 
that he had only thirty cuirassiers and he knew that the 
Hungarians were nearby with a large force. He had the 
roads barricaded, hobbled his horses in the court, and 
concealed his men in the hedges on either side of the road. 
Here the Hungarians discovered him, and attacked with 
such great impetuosity, and with such great numbers, that 
they forced the capitulation of the gallant band, with the 
condition that the horses, and weapons of the conquered, 
should belong to them. At this moment a Prussian 
General hurried to the rescue of the brave, little troop, but 
a force of three thousand Hungarians fell upon him with 
such fierceness that he was obliged to retire, thus leaving 
the brave von Seydlitz in the hands of his enemies. He 
was taken to the fortified town of Raab, where he made a 
plan of all of the defences of the city, and, when exchanged, 
was highly complimented by the Prussian King, who made 
him Captain of the White Hussars. The newly fledged 
commander was loathe to leave his brave cuirassiers and 
did so weeping, while Frederick gave to each a present in 
recognition of the gallant fight which they had put up 
against the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. Shortly 
after this von Seydlitz met the officer who had attempted 
to rescue him at Kranowitz. " Wait until the King sees 
you," said the Prussian leader, who was quite jealous of 
the young soldier, " He will give it to you for being cap- 
tured by the Hungarians." 

" I have seen him already," von SeydHtz replied. " And, 
instead of punishing me he has made me Captain of the 
White Hussars." 



176 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

In Berlin — not long after this — the King was talking 
to the spirited young Captain about the danger of capture 
from the enemy. 

" Any one who has a good horse under him should never 
be captured, no matter what his situation," said von 
Seydlitz, rather vaingloriously. 

The King did not reply to this remark, but a short time 
later when they had come to a draw-bridge, he drew it up, 
and, turning to his boastful officer, said, 

" Now you have your horse, but you are my prisoner." 

" Not by a great deal," von Seydlitz replied, and 
spurring his horse, he dashed towards the bridge. His 
steed gave a tremendous spring ; struck the opposite bank, 
and rolled backwards into the stream, from which he soon 
extricated himself, while his rider was covered with slime 
and mud. 

King Frederick laughed heartily at the appearance of his 
officer, as von Seydlitz called out from the other bank. 
" Did I not tell you, your Royal Highness, that no man 
need be captured who had a good horse under him." 

For this the King is said to have advanced him a grade, 
which gave rise to an old saying : " As a Cornet he sprang 
into the Spree — As a Captain he swam to land." 

The youthful leader was not devoid of humour, as we 
have seen, and during the war, had an amusing experience 
with the abbess of a convent, near Trelnitz. The Hussars 
were encamped upon the abbey grounds, and, according 
to the dictates of war, the food for the horses had to be 
supplied by the nuns. This was of such meagre quality 
that the ribs soon began to show in the war horses of the 
gallant Prussians. 



FREDERICK Vv^ILLIAM 177 

One day, as von Seydlitz was coming down a narrow 
road, he ran into the coach-and-four of the Abbess, which 
was returning from a visit to the countryside. The sudden 
appearance of his horses made the sleek and well-fed 
animals in the coach rear and plunge. The nuns, inside 
the vehicle, would have been spilled upon the ground, had 
not the gallant officer rushed to the heads of the animals 
and quieted them. 

" I will punish my soldiers for charging into you so 
suddenly," cried von Seydlitz, as he lifted the stout Abbess 
from her coach. 

" Nay, do not do so, I pray you," said the good Sister of 
Charity. "I could not see that done." 

The Captain smiled. " Well," he replied, " You know 
it was jealousy of your sleek nags which made my horses 
cut up so." 

The Abbess appreciated the humour of this remark, 
and afterwards, the forage which came from the Abbey 
was sufficient to keep the horses of the White Hussars in 
excellent, fighting trim. 

An old farmer who lived nearby was fond of telling tales 
on the brave troopers to the commanding General. " They 
pillage too much and steal too many chickens," he was 
accustomed to say, quite often. When von Seydlitz heard 
of it he decided to teach the old fellow a lesson so that he 
would cease his remarks about the necessary depredations 
of his command. So, he lined his men up on either side 
of the path through which he knew the farmer had to pass 
on his way to the village, and when he came along, one of 
the videttes had soon halted him at the muzzle of a 
gun. 



178 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" You must come before my leader," said the vidette, 
" for you have been found skulking through the lines." 

When he was brought before von Seydlitz, the Captain 
asked, 

" What were you doing on that path, my good sir? " 

" I was — was — " began the farmer, and then he could 
go no farther. 

" You were not there for any good purpose," said von 
Seydlitz sternly. " And any man whom my hussars find 
taking narrow paths instead of the broad high-way, they 
suspect as a spy for whom the punishment is — death. I 
wish you good-day, sir." Never afterwards were the 
Hussars worried by the tales of the crusty farmer. 

Another episode, shortly after this, won for Captain von 
Seydlitz the thanks and admiration of all the inhabitants 
of that particular province in which the Prussian cavalry 
was stationed. A remarkably strong, Polish nobleman 
lived in the neighbourhood, who had much power and a 
stubborn will, so strong in fact, that he would often go 
into the market place and insist upon the people taking 
his advice for sales of horses. One day as the Hussar 
Captain was strolling in the town, this Polish nobleman 
met him and said, " You must buy a horse at once, my 
young man, and one that I select." 

" All right," replied von Seydlitz with good humour, 
" bring him up to the Inn, where I can look him over." 

The Nobleman grew purple in the face. 

" Bring him up to the Inn, you say?" he sputtered. 
" Not by a jug full. You must see him here and see him at 
once." 

" I will see you first in the hottest place in the world," 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 179 

cried the Prussian, drawing his sword, and in a few 
moments he and the Pole were engaged in a furious en- 
counter. Up and down the road they fought, until, by a 
skillful thrust, the bold Prussian laid bare the cheek of the 
Nobleman, who — realizing that he had met his match — 
fled towards his own home. Von Seydlitz pursued him 
for some distance and then let him go. 

" Now, if any one else in this town wishes to insult a 
Prussian officer," he called out, " Let him come to my 
Inn, where I will give him all the satisfaction he wishes, 
with a pistol." 

An Armenian was there, at that time, with a number of 
horses for sale which were very wild and fierce. In spite 
of this, he had a high price upon them and would not sell 
for less. Von Seydlitz accosted him one day when dressed 
in his old clothes and offered to ride these untamed ani- 
mals. *' That you cannot do," said the Armenian, " but 
I will give you all the opportunity that you desire." At 
this von Seydlitz sprung upon the back of one of the horses, 
and, although the steed endeavoured to unseat him, he clung 
to him like a leech. CHmbing from his back he soon con- 
quered another and brought him back to the starting place 
with so much ease that the Armenian was delighted. " I 
will give you two hundred ducats and a horse if you will 
enter my service as a groom," he said. " That I cannot 
do," replied the Prussian, " for I am a Captain in the army 
of Frederick the Great." At this the horse-dealer had, of 
course, to withdraw his flattering terms, but he sold him a 
beautiful animal at a very low figure. " For," said he, 
" You are the grandest rider my eyes ever gazed upon." 

The good opinion which King Frederick had of him was 



180 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

shown by the present of a beautiful Turkish sword which 
he gave to the young officer in order to spur him on to 
further endeavour. Seeing this appreciation by his 
sovereign, von Seydhtz tried to achieve great things and 
was so earnest and zealous that his regiment was soon 
known to be the best among all the Hussars. Never de- 
manding anything from his men which he himself would 
not do, he had only the greatest adoration from his soldiers. 
He taught them to ride without stirrups and to stand erect 
or lie down upon their horses when on the full gallop. 
They were forced to jump fences, hedges, ditches, and to 
slide down hills, so that whatever obstacles they came 
across on the battle-field, they would be equal to surmount 
them. All the other Prussian cavalry regiments found a 
model for correct deportment in his troop. He was a great 
huntsman and when not in an active campaign kept a pack 
of deer and fox hounds which afforded him and his friends 
the greatest possible pleasure and kept them in good trim 
for active service. 

In 1753 von Seydlitz was sent to Silesia in command of a 
Cuirassier Regiment and was soon engaged in a spirited 
campaign with the Austrians and Saxons, — the enemies 
of Prussia. At the battle of Lowositz a heavy fog covered 
the field, but in spite of this, King Frederick determined to 
charge the lines of the enemy. Sending for von Seydlitz 
he asked him if he were ready to move. " Yes, your 
Majesty," said the courageous but clear-headed cavalry- 
man, " but if I do the cannon will soon rout us." 

" Never mind the cannon," said Frederick, " charge as 
I direct you." 

So in three columns the Prussian horse thundered 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 181 

down upon the Austrian line and were soon engaged with 
twenty-five squadrons of the enemy. A terrific encounter 
ensued in which the cavalry of the foe was beaten back into 
the river by a furious charge led by von Seydlitz in person. 
Finding that many horses were stuck in the mud, the Prus- 
sian artillery soon unlimbered and played upon their help- 
less riders. Meanwhile the cuirassiers of the brave von 
Seydlitz charged across a stone bridge and so broke up the 
infantry of the enemy that the entire army retreated and 
victory perched upon the banner of Frederick the Great. 
After the defeat the King left some troops to watch the 
Austrians and himself attacked the Saxons — their allies. 
They, too, were defeated, and so the Prussian army went 
into winter quarters in Saxony — all ready to renew the 
war as soon as Spring would break. 

In the advance into Bohemia in 1757, von SeydUtz 
was with the troops under Prince Maurice of Anhalt 
Dessau, who pushed forward to the city of Prague. Old 
Ziethen — the Prussian War Horse — commanded the 
advance, and, as a special favour from the King, the 
gallant, young Prussian was allowed to serve under Fred- 
erick's beloved cavalryman. Ordered by Prince Maurice 
to make a detour over the river Maldau and to fall upon 
the enemy's rear, while Frederick was battling near 
Prague, he had the misfortune to have no pontoons with 
which to cross the river, and so had to watch the fleeing 
enemy, in disgust, as they struggled upon the opposite 
bank of the stream. 

Overcome with impatience, the courageous von Seydlitz 
wished to swim the river with his troops, but he was told 
that the strength of the current and the quicksands, made 



182 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

such an undertaking impossible. To test this information 
he, himself, plunged into the stream, but his life was imper- 
illed by the attempt, for he sank into the quicksand to such 
an extent that the treacherous bog was soon up to his pistol 
holsters. Seeing his predicament, his men rushed to his 
aid, and, by means of long poles, soon had him safe upon 
the bank, while his poor horse sank into the dangerous 
mire and was killed. 

In spite of the victory which Frederick the Great won 
over the Austrians at Prague, he later suffered a severe 
defeat at Kolin. Then a succession of misfortunes burst 
over the head of the Prussian King, — the Russians broke 
through the eastern frontier, the Swedes marched upon 
Berlin, while the French beat his allies, the English, in 
Saxony. It is said that the iron Frederick meditated 
suicide so greatly was he menaced by disaster; but soon 
a change came in his fortunes, and, when the Russian in- 
vasion was ended, through the illness of the Empress 
Elizabeth, the King took heart again and invaded Saxony 
with twenty thousand men. At Rossbach he overwhelmed 
the Imperial army with three times his force. The unusual 
excellence of his cavalry gave him, at this time, the idea of 
arming his men with guns, or carbines, and so successful 
were they with their weapons that the entire military world 
adopted this form of armament. 

Von Seydlitz was now a Major- General, at thirty-six 
years of age, and when receiving this advancement after 
the battle of Kolin, he laughed, and said to the King, 
*' Well, your Majesty, it is about time that I have done 
something, for I am thirty-six years of age." 

At Rossbach a Captain in one of the cavalry troops had 



FREDERICK WIELIAM 183 

ahorse that shied so that it continually got in the way of his 
comrades. General von Seydlitz saw the actions of this 
animal and became very much irritated because the officer 
could not control him. Putting spurs to his own steed, 
he galloped up to the Captain, and thundered, " Sir, you 
are a nuisance and disgrace to the service, for you cannot 
manage your own horse. Go to the Devil ! " The officer 
was so mortified at this rebuke that he pulled out, galloped 
to the rear, and was never again seen in the army. 

In this fight von Seydlitz invented a formation called 
Von Seydlitz's formation, — which consisted of charging 
with two divisions of cavalry instead of three. With this 
disposition he rushed against the French lines of cavalry 
— after raising his pipe, which he was peacefully smoking, 
as the sign of attack — and so completely broke the 
enemy that they retreated to Unstrutt. The French 
horsemen were not seen again that day, and von Seydlitz, 
who followed them, found himself in the rear of the 
French infantry. Immediately falling upon the flank, he 
bore all before him, when he received a serious wound in 
the arm, which stopped his attack. But after the flow of 
blood had been quenched by means of a heavy bandage, 
he once more placed himself at the head of his regiment 
and again attacked. This time the French lines wavered 
and broke, leaving three thousand dead upon the field cf 
battle and five thousand prisoners in King Frederick's 
hands. Five French Generals fell also into the clutches of 
the Prussian Monarch. 

Seldom was a battle so quickly and conclusively won 
and seldom was one heralded so far as one of the greatest 
of German victories. In France the shame of the defeat 



184 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

was considered a court, and not a national, humiliation, 
while everyone was envious of King Frederick. After him, 
the French considered von Seydlitz the best soldier of the 
Prussians, and one Frenchman remarked, " That boy was 
born a General ! " For his services in this victory he re- 
ceived the Order of the Black Eagle, since then never 
given to a Major- General, and, a few days later, was 
raised to the rank of Lieutenant- General. To have 
reached the position of Lieutenant- General from the grade 
of " Oberst," or Colonel, in half a year, was unprecedented, 
and many Lieutenant- Generals, after long years of arduous 
service, have never received this reward. For this show 
of his Emperor's good will he was duly grateful, nor was 
he too much inflated by his wonderful success. He felt 
that what he had received had been justly won and that 
what he had gained belonged to him by right of strenuous 
effort. 

As the wound which the brilliant cavalryman had re- 
ceived in the recent battle was quite serious, he remained 
in Leipsic during the next campaign, which resulted in the 
victory at Leuthen, in Silesia, for King Frederick's arms. 
The immediate result of these two victories was the re- 
capture of Silesia, now overrun by the Austrians, and the 
exaltation of Frederick to the greatest fame. The English 
Parliament voted him an enormous sum of money and 
London was illuminated in his honour. Soon after this, 
von Seydlitz was able to join his own army and fought as 
well as ever before. 

At the battle of Zorndorf nearly all the cavalry was under 
the direction of the great cavalryman, and to him Frederick 
dispatched a message saying, " Attack in half an hour and 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 185 

furiously." But von Seydlitz did not feel that a charge 
would be successful, and so replied, by messenger, " I 
cannot do it, but I will justify myself after the battle." At 
this the King was violently angry. " You will have to 
answer for this reply with your head," he scribbled on a 
piece of paper and dispatched by a rider. But this did 
not seem to worry the brave and dashing leader of horse. 
" After the battle my head vvill be at the King's orders," he 
replied, " but during the battle I trust that he will allow 
me to use it to the best of my advantage in his service." 

Frederick made no answer to this final message, but 
furiously advanced upon the enemy. His reception was 
carefully watched by the crafty von Seydlitz, and when he 
saw that the time had come for his men to advance, he 
cried, " The battle is lost, my soldiers, and I do not wish 
any man to follow me unless he so wishes. But everyone 
who thinks that a charge will win the day let him follow 
me to the rescue of the King." 

" No battle has ever yet been lost," answered one of his 
Generals, " When the Garde de Corps has attacked." 

" All right," again cried the gallant von Seydlitz. "My 
children, follow me ! " 

" We follow," answered all the troops, and with bugles 
blowing the charge, they precipitated themselves with a 
yell of fury upon the opposing line, breaking it into shreds, 
and turning defeat into victory. It was the very moment 
for which Seydlitz had waited when he had replied so 
tartly to the King. 

After this bloody affair Frederick sent for his self- 
reliant cavalryman and embraced him warmly upon the 
field of battle. " I was wrong, my General," he said. 



186 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" You have won the day for me by your excellent good 
judgment." And the fiery Hussar was delighted. 

Von Seydlitz never rode large horses, but only those with 
light forequarters and strong hind legs which were light, 
active and ready to go quickly. On one occasion a soldier 
presented him with a big Holsteiner, saying, " Here, my 
General, is a nag that will carry you through thick and 
thin." 

" I don't like his looks," said the cavalry leader. 

" Ah, but try him, my dear sir," the soldier replied, 
" and you will find that he is the best horse you ever 
mounted." 

So, rather reluctantly, the celebrated cavalryman 
accepted the charger and soon rode him during a skirmish. 
In this he was hotly pursued by the Austrians, and riding 
his big Holsteiner down a hill, he crashed through the bed 
of a stream in order to escape. As he crossed the water 
the ponderous war-horse stuck in the mire ; Von Seydlitz 
was sucked beneath the surface of the stream and was 
held to his animal by a caught stirrup. But he extricated 
himself, came up to the surface, and swimming to the 
other bank there climbed upon the shore and escaped by 
running rapidly away. Never again would he ride a horse 
of goodly proportions. 

The third campaign of King Frederick was now in 
progress, and at Kunersdorf in Germany, he was badly 
whipped by the Russians, who had again taken the field 
against him. In the midst of the battle, the King of Prus- 
sia exposed himself recklessly among the balls and pro- 
jectiles, and, was in such imminent danger of death, that 
von Seydlitz rode up to him, and saluting, said, " Don't 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 187 

place yourself in so much danger, my Sovereign." Fred- 
erick looked at him with an icy stare. " The gnats are 
only biting," he replied. 

Shortly after this the Prussian horse courageously 
attacked the enemy, and von Seydlitz — while riding in 
advance of his men — was struck by a ball and badly 
disabled. Word of this was soon brought to the King, 
who dispatched a courier to him to ask what was the 
matter. " Tell the King," said the gallant cavalryman, 
" that only a gnat has stung me." 

The Prussians laid their defeat in this battle to the fact 
that von Seydlitz had been wounded, while he, himself, 
had been adverse to charging at all and attributed the rout 
to too much reckless advancing. His wound was serious 
and dangerous, so bad, in fact, that he was carried to 
Berlin to recuperate. The King had a difficult campaign 
before him and it was hard to lose his able leader. He 
continually wrote to him from the front and kept him well 
informed of his movements, designs and plans of battle. 
Not only this, but presented him with a beautiful, Arabian 
charger called Tiger, to which von Seydlitz became so 
attached that he had his portrait painted by a celebrated 
artist. 

While recovering from the troubles, arising from his 
wounds, the spirited cavalry leader fell into another serious 
difficulty which was more dangerous than a sabre cut. 
This was an attachment for a young girl who resided near 
his quarters and with whom he became so enamoured that 
he wished to marry her. But a strange accident put an end 
to his love affair. In rising from the piano, one day, the 
object of his affections slipped upon the polished floor and 



188 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

so injured her foot that she was made lame for life. After 
this curious difficulty she refused to marry brave von Seyd- 
litz, saying that it would impede a gallant and active soldier 
to be tied down to a cripple, and that it would hinder his 
advancement. This rebuff did not seem to cool the ardour 
of the fiery warrior, or to dampen his desire for marriage to 
another lady. In a month he wrote to Frederick, the King, 

" I implore your Majesty to allow me to marry young 
Countess Hacke on the day before I return to your 
army. In case I should be wounded again I do not wish to 
be left to the discretion of servants, as I have been before, 
but this is not the only reason why I wish you to accede to 
my wish, as I love the lady devotedly. I hope that you 
will grant my request, and believe me. Sire, Your devoted. 

Von Seydlitz." 

The King wrote upon the back of this epistle, " I wish 
you joy," and sent it back immediately. So von Seydlitz 
and his youthful Countess Hacke — who was only sixteen 
— were quietly married in Berlin. The good General was 
rather the worse for wear at the bridal ceremony, as his 
chin was so hacked by sabre thrusts that it had to be tied 
up in plaster, while his right arm was still in a sling. 

In spite of this domestic joy and happiness the brave war- 
rior began to pine for active campaigning and soon wished 
again to be at the front. He wrote several letters to the 
King, stating his desire, but his sovereign would not allow 
him to rejoin his troops because of his physical condition ; 
a refusal which naturally put him in an ill humour. So he 
was sullenly nursing his wrath against the keen-minded 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 189 

Frederick, when the enemy's forces sudHenly made a raid 
upon Leipsic and attempted to carry the entrenchments 
which were outside the hmits of the city. Von Seydlitz 
arose from a sick bed, and, with two or three Generals, ha- 
stened toman the earthworks with small cannon, and began 
to offer a stout defence to the Austrian invaders. But the 
defence — ■ though spirited — was useless. In a short time 
the gallant warrior had to flee for his life. 

Frederick heard of his activity and courage with the 
greatest of pleasure, and, in 1761, there was apparently 
no ill will between him and his badly used-up General of 
horse, for he wrote to him from Leipsic in a most affec- 
tionate manner, and said, " My dear Lieutenant- General, 
I hear with great pleasure that you are better and that 
you will soon be with us. I shall be very glad to see you 
as soon as your health permits." But it was a long time 
before the battered and maimed cavalry leader could re- 
join his forces, and when he did, the soldiers welcomed 
him with so much enthusiasm and joy that tears welled to 
the eyes of their General, as he rode before the lines of 
hussars and cuirassiers, to once more lead them to battle 
and victory. 

Frederick was soon in a desperate situation and stood 
at bay, surrounded by a gigantic host of his enemies. He 
made one tremendous dash to Torgau, where he won a 
victory that saved the Prussian monarchy from total 
annihilation. But he had to retreat to the heart of Silesia 
and watch his foes as they gathered around, like wolves 
about a wounded elk. The outlook was indeed discourag- 
ing for him : so discouraging, that he thought of putting an 
end to his own life. 



190 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Von Seydlitz fought valiantly by the side of the King, 
and in one of his numerous battles would have been 
captured with all his staff had he not had recourse to a ruse 
in order to deceive the Austrians of his own weakness. He 
had about thirty officers with him (when surrounded by 
the enemy) and these he hastily dismounted and formed 
into parties of three or four, in order to make the Austrians 
believe that he had, with him, a strong force of infantry. 
Craftily scattering his men over a large area, he so com- 
pletely fooled the surrounding troops, that they withdrew 
in order to get further strength, and so allowed him to 
escape in safety. 

At Freiberg von Seydlitz even took charge of the infantry, 
and handled this branch of the service with so much skill, 
that he carried a strong redoubt with the foot-soldiers. 
The battle was won by his efforts, and soon, through the 
fortunate death of Elizabeth of Russia, the Great Seven 
Years' War came to a close. Russia offered terms of 
peace and Sweden followed her example. Then came the 
Peace of Paris which was concluded by England and 
France, leaving Austria and Prussia to fight it out alone. 
However, these powers also signed a treaty of peace, and 
thus ended the bloody conflict that had torn the very vitals 
of Germany for seven years. Prussia still held Silesia, a 
million of men had been killed, and Frederick found him- 
self monarch of a wasted land. 

When the army was disbanded, many of the soldiers 
had no means of earning a livelihood, and von Seydlitz — 
being made General-Inspector-of-Cavalry in Silesia — 
kept a good many of them in his service, purely out of 
kindness of heart. The King gradually put the rest of his 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 191 

soldiers to work in agricultural pursuits, although there 
were still many under arms which his Inspector had to 
look after. Like Ziethen, von Seydlitz .never took any 
money, or plunder for himself, during the war, and thus 
he was as poor a man at its completion, as at the beginning. 
So stern was he that his common soldiers w^ere not even 
allowed to plunder. In spite of the fact that the leader of 
cavalry had not grown wealthy in the service, he had a 
large annual income, and Frederick gave him considerable 
sums of money, from time to time, as a token of his esteem. 
He was also allowed to cut wood in the kingly reserve, 
which was a special mark of royal favour. He had a 
charming home ; his wife loved company, joyousness and 
diversion. She entertained lavishly, but he — with 
soldierly bluntness — preferred the chase and hunting to 
the social affairs of the court, and, with his own pack of 
hounds, spent all his spare moments in the pleasures of 
expeditions in quest of wolves, deer, and foxes. 

Perhaps this famous general of cavalry was the most 
reckless rider that has ever led a charge, or dashed into 
solid phalanxes of the enemy at the head of his men. It 
was thus not strange that such dare-deviltry should end in 
disaster, and so, in 1775, the good General came near 
quitting the world for all time. A fractious horse was the 
cause of this, for von Seydlitz had mounted an untamed 
brute with the intention of rendering him tractable for a 
member of his regiment. But the animal bucked ; reared ; 
and plunged with so much spirit, that the reckless rider 
was unseated; tossed upon his head on a hard, macad- 
amized road-bed ; and rendered unconscious. King Fred- 
erick was near-by when this accident occurred, and galloped 



192 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

immediately to see what could be done for his beloved 
cavalryman. So moved was he by the sight which met his 
eyes that he turned away, in tears, as the limp form of the 
unfortunate soldier was carried to the house of a physician. 
But like a cat, — von Seydlitz seemed to be possessed of 
nine lives. He soon rallied; regained his strength; and 
pursued his desperate riding with as much carelessness as 
ever before. It was his constant practice to slip between 
the revolving wings of the numerous windmills, in Silesia, 
and no soldier in his regiment could remain, who refused 
to follow him in this test for nerve and good horsemanship. 

The keen-eyed leader-of-horse noticed all the imperfec- 
tions in his command and kept his soldiers strictly up to the 
mark. Although an active man, he never lost his temper 
and broke out into screams and gesticulations, when angry, 
as did so many of the Prussian officers. One day, in the 
battle of Freiberg, he became imjmtient and testily repri- 
manded one of his officers ; but, next morning, he saw that 
he had been wrong and wrote this soldier a note saying, " I 
was in error when I scolded you in yesterday's battle, but 
if you wish satisfaction to-day, I will give it to you in a duel 
with rapiers, and at any place which you desire." 

When SL young officer would leave his command without 
leave, the gallant von Seydlitz would pursue him across 
country on horseback, — leaping all the fences that came 
in his way and fording all the streams and rivers. If the 
fleeing one was fortunate enough to be able to outride the 
irate General, he would receive no reprimand, but if he 
were to be caught, he would suffer the severest punishment 
for this breach of discipline. Von Seydhtz hated every 
feminine trait in mankind and insisted that his soldiers 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 193 

should wear hard, starched collars, similar to those worn 
by the peasantry. If his men appeared in silk ones he 
would say, " I am not accustomed to have lady-like peo- 
ple at my table." King Frederick, himself, disliked the 
unmanly in a soldier, and spying, one day, a muff lying 
upon his table (similar to those which some men were 
accustomed to carry in winter) he hurled it into the fire, 
thinking that it belonged to von Seydlitz. But it happened 
to be the property of the Spanish Ambassador, who flew 
into a great temper over the incident, and von Seydlitz — 
with great vindictiveness — was never tired of teasing his 
King about this sad mistake. He was good to the young 
men in his regiment and often took poor, young fellows 
into his service and helped them with money, if they 
showed the proper spirit of the soldier. As soon as such a 
person entered his employ he would place him upon an 
untamed horse and allow it to run away with him. If the 
rider broke his neck, it was never spoken of; if he man- 
aged to stick on, he was treated like a brother. Thus only 
men of nerve and courage remained in the regiment of 
the spirited General of the Prussian horse. 

In order, one day, to show some visitors how well his 
soldiers could manoeuvre, he took them on the gallop from 
the market place into the middle of a river ; there re-formed 
them ; and brought them back in perfect alignment. The 
onlookers were amazed ; while the General laughed good- 
naturedly at their praise ; thanked his soldiers publicly for 
their fine performance ; and gave all of his officers a ball in 
token of his esteem. The handsomest and most high-born 
youths of Germany and foreign countries endeavoured to 
get places in his regiment of hussars, so great was their 



194 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

fame ; and so well did they appear in their uniforms, that 
it was whispered that they allowed their breeches to dry 
on them in order to mould them to their figures. 

Shortly after the close of the long struggle for Prussian 
independence, von Seydlitz was appointed General-of- 
Cavalry, — the highest position which a man could reach 
in the service of his country. When the Emperor of Aus- 
tria heard of this, he offered to take the gallant soldier 
with his service, but to this flattering request, the Prussian 
replied, " I have no master but one and he is the Great 
Frederick." In spite of this patriotism and apparent re- 
gard for his chief there was often a strained relationship 
between the Prussian monarch and himself, for the King 
was hasty of temper and often very fault-finding. One day 
he became quite angry and said to von Seydlitz, with some 
irritation, " I thought your men knew how to sit a horse 
correctly. I see, my General, that they are riding with 
long stirrups." " They are riding just as they did when 
they won the day for you at Rossbach," replied the leader 
of horse, with great calmness, " and I noticed that you did 
not then criticize their ability as cavalrymen." The King 
kept silent after this. 

Frederick was accustomed to make his guests at table 
the butt of his wit, but von Seydlitz was never awed by his 
remarks nor was he ever afraid to reply to them and speak 
his own mind. One day some beggars besought the King 
for some money, but he turned them away, saying, " Be- 
gone, why don't you go to work? You ask too much of 
me ! " But von Seydlitz, who was present, saw that these 
were old soldiers, and remarked, 

" Your Majesty, these are the brave fellows who gave 



FREDERICK WILLIAM 195 

you victory. Will you send them away without a 
penny ? " 

Abashed at this remark the King gave orders to have a 
large amount immediately distributed among the poor 
wretches who had asked his assistance with so much 
fervour. 

In spite of this kindness of heart the Prussian cavalry- 
man was often harsh and overbearing. Once he asked a 
certain Bourgomaster to take off his hat to him, as he was 
smoking at a window. The citizen refused, and the 
spirited officer shot at his head with a carbine, so that the 
unwilling burgher had to accede to his request. When 
Frederick heard of it he said, " Von Seydlitz, you act like 
a school boy. Will you never grow up ? " " No, your 
Majesty, I never will," replied the General, quite humbly. 

Known as the best formed man in all the cavalry service, 
he sat his horse as if he were a part of it. " His figure alone, 
without any mind, would have carried his cavalry through 
the lines of the enemy," says an admirer. His face was not 
striking, but his eyes showed courage and fire. He was the 
best horseman of his time and of strong and vigorous 
frame. He was magnanimous, fearless, and kind to the 
peasants, whom he always protected from his brutal soldiers. 
The King and the whole army had the greatest affection 
for their dashing and fearless leader of the cuirassiers and 
hussars. 

The hero of the battle of Rossbach died in 1773 in the 
fifty-third year of his age, and — by his own request — he 
was buried upon his country estate, in a sarcophagus 
designed after his own plans. A black, marble table, upon 
which is an urn and a sleeping lion, marks the last resting 



196 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

place of the most reckless horseman, the most peerless 
leader of cavalry, and one of the most ardent patriots that 
Prussia has ever known. His deeds of daring and bravery 
will always thrill the hearts of those who love to hear of the 
exploits of a bold and resolute man. His spirit still lives 
in the hearts of the Prussian cavalry. 




FRANCIS MARION 



3RARY 



; . ..X • D 

i TILD£N Fuo DM lOi-S. 



FRANCIS MARION: THE SWAMP FOX 

[1732 — 1795] 

THE Revolutionary War in America which led to 
the independence of the United States, was mainly 
carried on by armies of foot soldiers. There were, 
however, some leaders of horse whose names stand out 
prominently in the annals of those stirring times. Of the 
British cavalry leaders, Banastre Tarleton was the most 
conspicuous for gallant and aggressive action in the field, 
and, among the Americans, " Light-Horse-Harry " Lee, 
William Washington, and Francis Marion, are the names 
which shine upon the pages of history, and the records of 
whose brave and patriotic services to their respective 
countries, still thrill the readers of these trying campaigns. 
William Washington was large, strong and active. He 
was a cousin of General George Washington, and, in many 
respects, quite resembled his relative. Both were resolute 
and determined fighters. " Light-Horse-Harry " Lee was 
bold, daring, and impetuous. His record is one of worth. 
But neither of these men was as much beloved and re- 
spected by his followers as was Francis Marion, nor did either 
of them so richly merit the praise of the colonists. Marion 
was a veritable genius at partisan warfare ; a firm, resolute 
and honest patriot; a far-seeing and generous leader of 
light horse, and a masterful campaigner among the cane- 

197 



198 FAlNlOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

brakes and river bottoms of his own country. One cannot 
point out a defect in him, nor suggest a single good quaUty 
which he did not possess. He was the true w^arrior of 
Romance, the warrior " Without Fear and Without Re- 
proach." 

It is a curious coincidence that General Marion and 
George Washington were born in the same year. Both 
were Southerners and both have been aptly called, " noble 
thunderbolts " in the war for independence. Marion's 
father was a Carolinian and resided in St. John's parish, 
South Carolina. His grandfather was a Huguenot, or French 
Protestant, who had lived in France at the picturesque 
town of Rochelle, during the reign of the pleasure-loving 
and voluptuous monarch, Louis the Fourteenth. The King 
was by faith a Catholic, and when he abandoned his life 
of gayety for pretended devotion to the Church, he was led 
by his confessors, and by the celebrated Madame de 
Maintenon, to persecute those of his subjects who had 
adopted the Protestant religion. He endeavoured by 
force to bring them into the bosom of what he believed to 
be the true church. 

For many years the King was restrained from using 
harsh measures by Colbert, a minister who had much in- 
fluence at court, but, after this worthy man's death, he 
deprived the Huguenots of most of their civil rights and 
came under the complete control of three counsellors who 
were in favour of harsh persecution. Under their direction, 
bodies of dragoons were sent into the provinces south, 
where the Huguenots were most numerous, and they were 
compelled, at the point of the sword, to give up their 
faith. 



FRANCIS MARION 199 

In spite of the fact that King Louis guarded the frontier, 
more than fifty thousand Huguenots fled to Switzerland, 
Germany, Holland, and England. Angered at the refusal 
of many of the important and wealthy Protestant families 
to renounce their faith, he revoked the Edict of Nantes, 
Oct. 22nd, 1685, which was an act giving the Protestants 
a right to the free exercise of their religion and equal claims 
with the Catholics in all offices and dignities. There were 
still more than half a million Protestants in France, and 
this unjust and unwise decree caused many of the wealthiest 
and most useful inhabitants to leave for lands more distant 
than England and Switzerland. Some emigrated to South 
Carolina — among them the grandfather of Francis 
Marion — and took up their residence in the province 
which the British colonists had taken possession of twenty 
years before. About eighty or a hundred families — poor, 
destitute, and deprived of all the precious possessions 
which had once been theirs — settled at plantations on the 
banks of the Santee River and soon prospered in that rich 
and fruitful country. They had fled from persecution; 
conquered a wilderness ; and had driven the hostile Indians 
from the coast. No wonder the youthful Marion inherited 
an intrepid and daring spirit from his forbears. 

It is said that little Marion was so weak and puny as a 
child that he was not expected to live. A chronicler of the 
period says that he looked " like a New England Lobster." 
This weakness clung to him through early life, and yet we 
have no evidence of a lack of spirit, for at twelve he desired 
to go to sea, in spite of his meagre frame and lack of bodily 
strength. After much hesitation on the part of his parents, 
he was allowed to set sail upon a vessel bound for the V.'^est 



200 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Indies. All went well until within a day's trip of the port 
they aimed for, when, suddenly, and without warning, the 
ship ran upon what seemed to be a sunken ledge. There 
was a great splitting of timber, and all hands rushed on 
deck to find that it was a curious rock indeed upon which 
they had struck, for it was the back of a huge whale, which 
was infuriated by the blow and lashed the water into foam 
with its tail. The schooner — for such she was — was 
badly damaged, and soon the water rushed through the 
torn and shattered bow. The captain, crew, and pas- 
sengers took to the life-boats, and, so suddenly did the 
vessel go down, that there was no opportunity to get food 
or water for the ship- wrecked men. For three days they 
tossed about beneath the torrid heat of the sun, and then, 
overcome by the fiercest hunger, fed upon the remains of a 
little, cabin dog which had swum to them from the 
schooner, just as she had gone down. This alleviated 
their suffering but little, and soon, nearly all the unhappy 
cast-aways were crazed for lack of water. On the tenth 
day the Captain and Mate leaped overboard in their frenzy, 
and, scarcely had their bodies disappeared from view, 
when a full-rigged ship hove in sight and came quickly to 
the rescue. 

As soon as the hardy sailors came up to the exhausted boat- 
load, they found that little Marion was a veritable skeleton. 
He was so weak that he could not stir hand or foot in order 
to climb up the vessel's side. But, he was lifted aboard by 
two stout seamen, and, with care and nourishment, soon 
regained his past spirits. In fact this episode seems to 
have benefited him, for, after this his frame commenced a 
second and more rapid growth. He developed into a 



FRANCIS MARION 201 

strong and healthy youth and occupied himself in assisting 
his father in the management of the plantation, where much 
of his time was spent on horseback. Thus he became 
well used to the saddle and could ride with the greatest 
skill and ease ; an accomplishment that was of inestimable 
value in after years. 

Just as George Washington was accustomed to frontier 
fighting before the outbreak of the American Revolution, 
Marion had also seen service in two Indian campaigns 
before he took up arms against Great Britain. The 
campaigns were attended with danger, difficulty, and 
hardship, which were circumstances well calculated to fit 
him for the peculiar duties of a leader of partisan cavalry, — 
the role which he was soon to play in the great struggle for 
American Independence. 

In the interior of the Carohnas were the homes of the 
Cherokee Indians, and during the year 1759 they began a 
series of attacks against the settlers of the Carolina frontier. 
At this time the French nation was at war with England 
for the possession of America, and already there had been 
fierce fighting at Fort Duquesne, where now is the city of 
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The French colonists posed as 
friends of the Indians. They continually stimulated them 
to hatred of the English. 

A messenger dispatched from the frontier to Lyttleton — 
the English governor of the Province of North Carolina — 
warned him of the impending danger to the settlers of this 
part of America, and directed him to gather the militia for 
defence. Francis Marion was one of the volunteers who 
joined the Governor's army, serving in a compan}' of 
cavalry under the command of his brother. The Indian 



202 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

uprising was soon put under, and a deputation of chiefs, 
with wampum behs and much solemn talk, made a treaty 
of peace with the good-natured Governor, who thought 
them sincere. The troops were, of course, sent home, but 
two years later war broke out afresh, and atrocities were 
perpetrated which were far more hideous than those which 
had before occurred. Again the militia was called out to 
defend the State, and again Marion took up the profession 
of arms with twelve hundred other provincials. The 
Indians were no match for these determined soldiers, and, 
after many bloody skirmishes, peace was again declared. 
Twenty Indian towns had been burned to the ground. 

This training in frontier fighting proved of great value to 
Marion. He learned to skirmish in Indian fashion and to 
be at home in the tangled swamps and wildernesses of his 
State. Even in the heat of successful campaigns — such 
as these had been — he here displayed that sympathy for 
people in distress that was to make him so honoured and 
revered in after years. We have a clear proof of this 
gracious spirit in a letter to a friend which has been pre- 
served since the time of its writing. Marion gives the de- 
scription of the burning of an Indian village, and says, 
" When we are gone, thought I, the Indians will return, 
and peeping through the weeds with tearful eyes, will 
mark the ghastly ruin poured over their homes and happy 
fields. 

" Who did this ? " the little children will ask their 
mothers. 

" The white people did it," the mothers will reply. 
" The Christians did it." 

" Thus for the sake of greed," he continues, " the fol- 



FRANCIS MARION 203 

lowers of Christ have sown the cursed tares of hatred in 
the bosoms even of pagan children." Certainly this shows 
a spirit of forbearance and gentleness which one would not 
expect in a man of Marion's daring and fighting power. 
It was this charitable nature which made him loved and 
honoured by all men. 

But soon the war for independence was to call forth the 
best that Marion could give. When a vessel direct from 
Boston to Charleston, in May, 1775, brought news of the 
brave fight which the Colonials had made at Lexington, the 
whole country was in a flame of patriotic enthusiasm for 
war. The legislature of the Province of Carolina was 
hastily convened ; two regiments were immediately raised 
for purposes of defence ; and Marion was appointed to the 
place of Captain in the second regiment, under the leader- 
ship of William Moultrie. It was difficult to raise men, but 
soon the full quota had been gathertd. Although there 
was no money to pay them with, and few cutlasses and 
guns with which to properly arm the command, the soldiers 
fell to work with a will in order to strengthen and man the 
fortifications in the harbour's mouth, for they knew that a 
British fleet would soon be sent against them. 

Of course there was trouble with some of the men who 
had little stomach for war, and one, — a young and gay 
Lieutenant, had taste of the disciphne of Capt. Marion's 
tongue which lasted him through life. This youthful 
soldier was vain, fond of dress, and not inclined to follow 
the dull routine of a soldier's life. He had served under a 
number of Captains who had all dubbed him a worthless 
sort of a fellow with whom it was impossible to get along, 
and one whose tastes were vulgar and low. But the Lieu- 



204 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

tenant thought himself an amazingly clever person, and 
openly boasted that he would soon show the command that 
he would get the better of Captain Marion. 

Not long after this, there was an opportunity to test his 
superior officer's mettle, for the news was brought to camp 
that there would be a great cock fight in a small town, 
near-by. The Lieutenant's childish spirits were naturally 
in a veritable fever of excitement, but, how could he obtain 
leave of absence in order to witness this fierce encounter ? 
After thinking it over for some time, he finally hit upon an 
idea. It was to tell a deliberate falsehood and thus gain 
what he desired. So he went to Marion with a sorrowful 
face and stated that his father, to whom he was devoted, 
was upon his death-bed, and had sent word that he wished 
to see him before he died. He therefore asked permission 
to go and visit his parent. 

" To be sure. Lieutenant," replied Marion, to this 
request. " Go, by all means, go and see your father in his 
desperate illness, but return as soon as you can, for you see 
and know that we have more than we can possibly do. 
Every man, at this time, is needed." 

Apparently overjoyed and quite surprised at Marion's 
generosity, the Lieutenant thanked him profusely, and 
informed him that he would be back in two days, or, at the 
latest, in three. As he went out, he made it plain to some 
of the officers that he had achieved a grand exploit, and so 
irritated them with his effrontery, that they informed the 
Captain of this shallow trick. And so it turned out to be, 
for the young Lieutenant made no pretext of visiting his 
father, but hid in the city until time for the cock fight to 
come off. Even then he did not return to his command 



FRANCIS MARION 205 

until a fortnight had elapsed, and, then, as he entered the 
officers' mess where Marion was seated, he began to bow 
and scrape with the utmost civility. Marion turned his 
head away as if he were not aware of his presence. This 
made the Lieutenant uneasy and be began to apologize. 

" I am sorry, sir, to have outstayed my time so long," he 
said. " But — but — I could not help it — and now I have 
returned to my duty." 

The effect upon Marion was only too apparent, and a 
number of officers who had entered looked on with interest, 
for they knew of the character of this fellow. Captain 
Marion turned full upon the stammering Lieutenant, and, 
speaking in the chilliest tone which he could command, 
replied, " Aye, Lieutenant, is that you ? Well, never mind 
it — there was no harm done — I never missed you." 

It was indeed sufficient punishment. The poor Lieu- 
tenant was abashed and mortified beyond words. He 
sneaked away with his head down, and in a most uncom- 
fortable frame of mind; while the derisive laughter of his 
fellow officers made the blow, seem more severe. Never 
again did he trespass upon the good-will of his superior. 

Living in a lawless age, when men were rough, uncouth, 
and boisterous, Marion retained great delicacy of feeling, 
cultivated tastes, and scrupulous honesty. He moved in a 
sphere of his own, and, like the great George Washington, 
appeared to be more noble and spiritual than those about 
him. He seemed to be free from the usual frailties to 
which other men give way. He was above the common 
faults and vanities of life. This was what gave him his 
great power over men, and, although the British soon 
captured Charleston and Savannah ; through the strength 



206 FAI\iOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

of his own personality, and by his own patriotic example, 
he was able to collect about him a small body of trusty 
adherents who swore that they would all perish rather than 
submit to the English rule. 

At the time when Marion first began to act as an inde- 
pendent commander the outlook for the Colonials was 
indeed a dark one. It was true that General Burgoyne, with 
a large British force, had capitulated at Saratoga, and that 
Washington had had some success at Germantown and 
Monmouth. But, in the North the British were confident of 
victory against the ragged Continentals, who were being 
held to their work by grim determination of George Wash- 
ington and a few staunch patriots in the service. There 
was little money to pay the army with, and the green-backs, 
or " continentals " which were used for currency, were so 
worthless, that a man in Boston papered his room with 
them. Th^ expression, " not worth a continental," was a 
sad and bitter truth. 

In the South, things had come to a sorry pass. The 
British, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, spread 
themselves over the country, and although this army, at 
first, consisted of but three thousand men, it was sufficient 
to terrorize the unresisting inhabitants. The English 
plundered the plantations ; harassed those who favoured 
the Colonial cause ; set free their slaves ; and burned their 
homes. The American army — save for the handful 
of men which Marion had with him — had melted away 
after the capture of Savannah. But the scattered remnant 
of the Carolinian forces that had defended Charleston and 
Savannah, were gathered together to make further resist- 
ance, when General Gates was dispatched South by 



FRANCIS MARION 207 

General Washington. With him were some Continental 
troops and some militia. Cornwallis met him at Camden 
and utterly routed his command, which placed the Ameri- 
can cause, at this time, in a most desperate situation. 

It was for General Marion, in this dark hour, to keep 
alive the spark of patriotic enthusiasm, and, although 
commander of but thirty men at first, a few successful raids 
gave courage to the many ardent patriots who laboured 
assiduously for the cause of American independence. 
Marion waged a spirited and relentless warfare on what- 
ever detachments of British troops were sufficiently small 
for him to cope with. He could not attack Cornwallis and 
the main army, but he could cut off his supply trains, re- 
capture prisoners, and harass his foraging parties at every 
turn. This he did with such success that his name was 
hated in the British camp more than that of any other 
Colonial. 

The first exploit that turned out successfully for his 
command was against a body of British regulars who were 
conducting a number of American prisoners to Charleston, 
shortly after the battle of Camden. Marion and his men 
were hiding in a swamp when news was brought to them 
by trusty scouts, that the enemy was nearby. 

" How many prisoners do you suppose there are ? " 
asked Marion. 

" Near two hundred," replied the scouts. 

" And what do you imagine to be the number of the 
British guard ? " 

" Why, General, we counted about ninety." 

"Ninety?" replied Marion, with a smile. "Ninety! 
Well, that will do. And now, gentlemen, if you will only 



208 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

stand by me, I've a good hope that we thirty will have 
those ninety by to-morrow sunrise." 

His men told him to lead on, for they were determined 
to go wherever he went, and, if need be, to perish at his 
side. 

Night soon fell, and, under cover of the darkness, the 
little band of ragged cavalrymen rode quietly to a ferry 
over the Santee River and were soon put across. The 
British had passed only a short time before and had halted 
at the first tavern that they had come to, called " The Blue 
House." Here they ordered supper, and, seated under an 
arbour in front, had feasted right merrily. They were in 
high good humour, for the battle of Camden had been 
most gloriously won by their army. Much wine was con- 
sumed before they lay down to a deep sleep, with sentries 
posted around the house to guard their slumbers. 

Marion waited until the first flush of dawn before making 
the attack. Then, approaching the house, behind a high 
fence, his men suddenly made a rush for the sleeping guard. 
The sentinels fired their muskets and fled precipitously into 
the front yard. The guns of the sleeping guards were 
stacked in several piles, and, as these were seized immedi- 
ately, the surprised and crest-fallen Englishmen, found 
themselves prisoners of war. After they had been safely 
secured, Marion called for their Captain, but he was not 
to be seen. A diligent search was made, and he was dis- 
covered half-way up the chimney. His mortification was 
intense when he found that a handful of militia had made 
prisoners of his able-bodied, British guard. 

But no sooner had these red-coats been paroled and the 
prisoners set free, than word was brought by a patriotic 



FRANCIS MARION 209 

farmer, that a large force of British sympathizers were 
mustering on the Pedee River, under the eye of an EngUsh 
Captain. Without losing a moment, Marion ordered his 
men to mount, and soon was on his way to attack this 
fresh command. 

Pursuing by paths through the forest, he came upon the 
Tories, shortly after they had crossed a bridge over the 
Black Mingo River, and had encamped on the farther side. 
Galloping across the bridge, his force fell upon their en- 
campment, but the noise which the horses made on the 
wooden planking had warned the Tory sentinels of the 
approach. They were ready for the fray and a fierce com- 
bat ensued, but, losing their Captain by a shot through the 
head, the English sympathizers beat a hasty retreat, leaving 
many of their party dead upon the field. Never afterwards 
would Marion allow his cavalry to cross a bridge without 
first laying blankets on the boards. 

These successes gave renewed hope to the Colonials, 
who were still further cheered by the news that General 
Greene was to be sent south from Washington's army, in 
order to take command of the remnants of the forces of 
Gates which had been so badly whipped at Camden. The 
audacious Marion also stimulated the patriotic fever by 
another brilliant exploit, more daring and as successful 
as any heretofore. This adventure occurred after he had 
learned from some of his outriders that a large body of 
Tories was upon the road to attack him, and he had de- 
termined, with his usual bravery, to fall upon them before 
they could know of his presence. He informed his men 
of his plans; they vaulted into their saddles with a loud 
huzza, when he told them that they should march; and 



210 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

soon they were joyfully on their way to battle with the 
advancing cavalry. After a two days' ride they came upon 
the Tory encampment at nightfall, near the Little Pedee 
River. 

Not expecting the advent of so dangerous an enemy, 
who, when last they heard of him, was seventy miles away, 
the Tories had not even taken the precaution to place 
sentinels around the camp. Collected about two great 
fires, some were engaged in playing cards, while others 
smoked their pipes peacefully by the warm blaze. One, 
even, was engaged in fiddling a lively air. It was certainly 
inhuman to attack such unsuspecting men, but war is 
not a gentle game, and, with one well-aimed volley, 
Marion's troopers charged upon the camp. When they 
came up to the fires, twenty-three were found shot, — 
while many more were badly wounded. Thirteen were 
captured. The remainder took to their heels and fled into 
the wood. 

Marion secured thirty-four stand of arms ; one hundred 
horses with new saddles and bridles; besides much am- 
munition and baggage. " One of the gamblers," says a 
writer of the period, " though shot dead, still held the cards 
hard gripped in his hand. Led by curiosity to inspect this 
strange sight — • a dead gambler — we found that the 
cards which he held were ace, deuce, and jack. Clubs 
were trumps. Holding High, Low, Jack, and the Game 
in his own hand, he seemed to be in a fair way to do well, 
but Marion came down upon him with a trump that spoiled 
the sport and non-suited him for ever." 

Shortly after this, when Marion was encamped in the 
vicinity of Georgetown, a flag of truce was sent in from 



_ ;._.'/ YORK 
;L[C LIBRARY 



FRANCIS MARION 211 

the British with the request that the General should treat 
with them for the exchange of some prisoners. With the 
white handkerchief that served as the flag, came a young, 
British officer who was brought into camp with his eyes 
blindfolded as is the custom of war. It could be easily seen 
when he was introduced to the General, that he was much 
surprised, for, instead of beholding a large, stout, well-fed 
and generously-proportioned man, dressed in a natty 
uniform, he found himself in the presence of a small, thin, 
rather sallow-faced individual, whose coat was patched, 
whose boots were worn, and whose trousers were rent in 
many places. Instead of well-dressed retainers, as he was 
accustomed to see in his own camp, he saw a mere handful 
of angular, sunburned, and tattered militia-m.en, some of 
whom were engaged in cooking a poor repast in the glowing 
ashes, and some of whom were stretched out in slumber, 
with long muskets and grimy powder-horns lying beside 
them on the fallen trees. After talking over the matter, 
about which he wished to consult with General Marion, 
the British officer politely rose from a fallen, pine log, upon 
which he had seated himself, and courteously lifting his 
hat, expressed the desire to be reblindfolded and led back 
to his own camp. But General Marion, with the true 
hospitaHty of the Southerner, would not hear of such a 
thing. 

" Pray seat yourself, my friend," he said, " for it is my 
dinner hour and I shall be most happy to have you as 
guest at my repast." 

Somewhat reluctantly, the officer again seated himself 
upon the fallen tree, for, as he gazed about him, he could 
see no signs of meat, or steaming coffee. Instead, a very 



212 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

black, negro boy was quite busily poking the fire with a 
long, pine stick. Soon he extricated some sweet potatoes, 
the cooking of which he tested by pinching them between 
his fingers. After selecting a few that were quite done, he 
placed them upon a clean piece of bark and laid them 
before Marion and his guest. 

" I greatly fear, su-," said General Marion, " that our 
dinner will not prove as palatable to you as I could wish, 
but, it is the best that we have." 

" Why, not at all," the well-bred officer replied, " I am 
sure that this is as splendid a repast as any soldier could 
desire." And although he made a pretence of eating with 
relish, it could be plainly seen that he did not thoroughly 
enjoy the food before him. Finally he broke into loud 
laughter and said with some show of surprise. 

" I beg your pardon. General, but one cannot, you know, 
always direct one's reflections. I was thinking how angry 
and disgusted some of my brother officers w^ould look, if 
our government were to give them such a bill-of-fare as 
this." 

"I suppose," Marion answered, "that it is not as 
sumptuous as the rations that are given to your men." 

" Most certainly not," rephed the officer, " and this 
must be one of your accidental dinners, you must assuredly 
live much better than this." 

But Marion looked at him with unfeigned surprise. 
" Indeed we rather fare worse than this," he answered. 
"For there are many times w^henwe get very much less than 
we have before us." 

" Zounds, sir," ejaculated the officer. " But certainly 
what you lose in food, you make up in other ways. I'll 



FRANCIS MARION 213 

warrant that although your larder is ill-supplied, you make 
up the difference in pay from your government." 

" Not a cent of pay do we get, sir," replied Marion. 

The officer was plainly affected. " You do not mean 
that you receive no recompense for your services against the 
King, in whose pay I have the honour to be. I do not 
see. General, how you and your men can do such a 
thing." 

" Why, my dear sir," answered Marion with feeling, 
" these things depend wholly upon sentiment. The heart 
is everything in life, and when a man is much interested, 
he can do any deed and suffer any discomfort. Many a 
youth would think it hard to become a slave for fourteen 
years of his life, but let him be head-over-heels in love, and 
with such a beautiful sweetheart as Rachel, and he will 
think no more of fourteen years of servitude than did the 
youthful Jacob in that pleasing tale in the Holy Bible. 
Well, now, this is exactly my case. I am in love with my 
sweetheart and her name is LIBERTY. As long as this 
fair creature is my companion, these wdlds and woods have 
charms beyond London and Paris. For there a proud 
Monarch would glide by me in his gilded coach and his 
host of excise-men and tax gatherers would insult and rob 
me. Here, if we wan the Revolution, I will be my own 
master, my own prince and sovereign. Here I sow my own 
fields, reap my own grain, and see millions of brothers 
around me, as free and happy as myself. This, my dear 
sir, is what I long for and intend to fight for, and, if need 
be, to sacrifice my life blood for." 

At this patriotic utterance, the Englishman looked 
thoroughly abashed, and hung his head dejectedly. He 



214 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

then rose, and, bidding General Marion adieu, was soon 
escorted beyond the outlying sentries. 

When he had returned to the EngHsh force and had re- 
ported to the Colonel of his regiment, he was asked, with 
some surprise, why he looked so serious. 

" I have good cause, sir," he replied. 

"What? Has General Marion refused to treat with 
us?" 

" No, sir." 

" Well, then, has old Washington defeated General 
Clinton and broken up our army? " 

" No, sir, not that either, but worse." 

" Ah ? What can be worse ? " 

" Why, sir, I have seen an American officer and his men, 
without pay, almost without clothes, living on roots and 
drinking water, and all for Liberty. What chance have we 
against such men? " 

The young officer was so struck by the noble sentiments 
which had fallen from the lips of General Marion, that he 
soon threw up his commission and retired from the army 
of the Crown. 

This anecdote well illustrates the wonderful patriotism 
of Francis Marion. Like Stonewall Jacks(5n of the Con- 
federate service in the American War of Secession, his 
noble spirit animated all those with whom he came in 
contact. His high resolve and absolute purpose impressed 
the weaklings of the service with veneration and respect. 
Reserved and silent, he scarcely ever spoke, except when 
necessary, and then in the most simple and direct language 
that he could command. This peculiarity, joined with the 
extreme plainness of dress and still plainer manners, in- 



FRANCIS MARION 215 

creased the mystery of his actions and added greatly to the 
influence which he had over his followers. With coolness 
and self-command, he went upon the most desperate 
missions. With calmness he would fight desperately, and 
then, with the utmost composure, draw off his men to their 
dismal and lonely encampment in the swamp. He seemed 
to be without passion. It was Liberty he strove for, not 
revenge, nor glory, nor love of excitement, or desire for 
money and power. 

These desperate raids of his were now carried on with 
quite as much success as before. His force grew in size 
and ability while the cause of Liberty in the South again 
blazed forth with brightened prospects, as Nathaniel 
Greene, who succeeded General Gates, proved to be an able 
and sagacious leader. The British army (still under 
Lord Cornwallis) began to meet with reverses. A portion 
of the English force, sent into the western part of South 
Carolina, met with a severe defeat at King's Mountain. 
Another portion — under Tarleton — was badly whipped 
at Cowpens, and, after pursuing Greene far to the North, 
where a sharp battle was fought at Guilford Court 
House just below the northern border of North Carolina. 
Cornwallis withdrew his forces to Virginia, where he was 
soon hemmed in at Yorktown by the French fleet, aided, 
on the land, by Washington and Lafayette. Greene re- 
turned to the Carolinas, where he captured some of the 
British supplies and several small garrisons, left behind by 
the injudicious Cornwalhs. Soon he had turned aggressor 
and hemmed the last remnants of the English army in at 
Charleston. 

While Cornwallis was manoeuvring with the wily 



216 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Greene, before his retreat to North Carolina, and was 
desperately endeavouring to get in contact with him before 
he could choose ground to his own advantage, Marion had 
not been idle. A British officer, named Watson, confronted 
him with a force equal to his own, and the Swamp Fox was 
afraid to attack him until his army was somewhat depleted. 
Soon he had the opportunity, for Watson was called to join 
Cornwallis, leaving behind him a number of men as 
garrison to a stockade, named in his honour. The fort 
was upon an Indian mound. 

The American General, who was assisted by a General 
Lee, did not, at first, see how he could capture the fortress, 
as he was without artillery and intrenching tools. Finally 
a clever idea was hit upon. A long, oblong pen was erected, 
covered on the top with a floor of logs, and protected on 
the side opposite the fort with a breastwork of light timber. 
It was soon finished. A party of riflemen took position on 
the tower at the very moment when it was completed, 
commanded every part of the fort from this height; and 
began to pick off all who showed themselves in the stockade. 
Finding every resource cut off, the commandant of Fort 
Watson hung out a white flag and capitulated. 

But another stockade remained, called Fort Motte, in 
which was a considerable garrison — a fact which did not 
dismay Lee and Marion — for, flushed with their former 
success, they determined to force capitulation. So, combin- 
ing their squads of horsemen, they soon had surrounded 
the fortifications ; had mounted a six-pounder to rake the 
northern face of the British parapet ; and had thrown up an 
earthwork within four hundred yards of its walls. The 
garrison was now summoned to surrender, but refused 



FRANCIS ]\iARION 217 

because of fancied help which they hoped to get from a 
force under Lord Rawdon, encamped near-by. This did 
not disconcert the attacking party, for there was a certain 
way of compelhng surrender, — by setting fire to a large 
house in the centre which belonged to Mrs. Motte : a 
patriotic owner of the plantation upon which the fort had 
been built, who had remained near the scene of conflict and 
watched the fortunes of the day with much interest. 
General Marion, seeing that there was no other way, de- 
termined to ask her consent to the firing of the mansion 
house. 

" It is possible to burn out the garrison, Madam," he 
said to her, " but, in doing so, we must set fire to your 
valuable property. Can I have permission to fire the 
phec?" 

Mrs. Motte viewed the plan with enthusiasm. " By all 
means," she replied. 

Seeing a bow and some arrows that had been prepared 
to throw a wad of burning cotton on the roof, she sent for 
a bow of her own, recently imported from India, and re- 
quested that they substitute this for that which had been 
provided. 

The roof of the protecting house was soon alight from 
four burning arrows which fell upon it in different quarters, 
and the fire of the six pounder soon drove the British 
soldiers into the protection of the blazing homestead. 
There was nothing to be done but to surrender, and this 
the Red- Coats did with sorry grace. 

The capture of Fort Motte was not the last fight in which 
Marion took part, for there were other cavalry skirmishes 
in which he jeopardized his life, before the British 



218 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

evacuated Charleston and left the Carolinas for ever. 
It was, however, one of the hardest blows to the forces 
which Cornwallis had left behind him that was dealt 
by the Partisans. 

After the sailing of the British transports, Marion called 
his brigade together at Walboo and took an affectionate 
leave of his followers. His address to his men was charac- 
terized by that peculiar modesty and simplicity that had 
marked each action of his life. He spoke of the scenes of 
their past service in the Revolution; he thanked them 
most cordially for their help; and bade them all a fond 
farewell. His remarks were greeted with tearful silence, 
and many a rough Partisan uttered a silent request to the 
powers above, that the life of their beloved leader be 
spared for many years, and that his remaining days should 
be tranquil and happy. 

Such, indeed, was to be the fate of Francis Marion. 
After taking leave of these, — his companions in many 
hard-fought contests, — the much-loved leader retired to 
his plantation; which he found absolutely devastated by 
the ravages of war, as it had been directly in the path of 
one of the ordinary routes of the British army. 

Although penniless — for he had received no pay, and 
half of his negroes had been removed by the British — he 
set manfully to work to repair the losses that he had sus- 
tained, and to once more make his plantation yield a 
fruitful harvest. His efforts were crowned with success, 
and civil honours came also, for he was elected Senator 
from the Parish of Saint Johns. He aided in rebuilding 
the fortifications in Charleston Harbour and was voted a 
gold medal as a mark of public approbation for his assist- 
ance to the State. 



FRANCIS MARION 219 

Thus the closing years of Francis Marion's Hfe were 
peaceful and happy, made doubly so by his marriage to 
Miss Mary Videau : a maiden lady of considerable wealth 
and also of Huguenot descent. Although blessed with no 
children, they lived for many years upon his plantation, 
enjoying that peace which only comes after a praiseworthy 
and meritorious service to one's fellow men. In the sixty- 
third year of his age this famous cavalryman fell into that 
peaceful slumber which is the end of all things. " Thank 
God I can lay my hand upon my heart and say, since I 
came to man's estate I have never intentionally done 
wrong to any," were his last words. 

So died one of the most pure and unselfish patriots 
which the American Revolution produced. He loved his 
country better than his hfe, and Liberty was dearer to him 
than all other things on earth. For a long time he was the 
only Colonial in his native State who dared to lift the 
standard of freedom, and although he became the object 
against whom the British directed many a vigorous attack, 
they could never disband his corps or break his power. 
Noble; brave; vigilant; aggressive; patriotic; America 
may well be proud of such a splendid and heroic character. 



MARSHAL NEY, THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE 

[1769 — 1815] 

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, Emperor of the 
French, spent his Ufe in one continuous series 
of wars. He had secured his position as ruler, 
only after the country had passed through various revolu- 
tions and uprisings among the people. They had tired of 
the dissipated Bourbon kings — whose reigns had been 
most corrupt — had overthrown their power, and had 
set up a Directorate of several individuals. This kind of 
government had finally resolved itself into a one-man 
rule, — with Bonaparte as First Consul. But the people 
wished to perpetuate him in power, and so eventually 
crowned him Emperor of the French. His reign was a 
stormy one and he had need of strong and able men. 
Among those lesser satellites who clustered about his 
brilliant person, not one is more eminent than Marshal 
Ney, Soldier of the Empire, and Commander of more 
than one bloody engagement where cavalry won the day 
for the Napoleonic arms. 

Marshal Ney was Napoleon's most staunch adherent; 
his devoted admirer through life; and his most able 
General. He has truthfully been called, " The Bravest 
of the Brave," for he knew no fear in battle. Without him, 
the French army would not have left such a splendid 
220 




MARSHAL NLV 



MARSHAL NEY 221 

record behind it, and had Napoleon Hstened more often 
to his advice, there is no doubt that he would have had 
a more successful climax to his career. On more than one 
occasion, Ney's counsel was more sound than Napoleon s 
own views, as history has truthfully proven. 

At a small, provincial town in France called Sarrelouis, 
in the year 1 769, there lived a cooper who had been a sol- 
dier in the regiments of the Bourbons. Although he was 
no longer in the army, he was still fired with enthusiasm 
for the military life, and would often entertain his children 
with stories of his adventures, — particularly of those 
at the battle of Rossbach, where he had quite distinguished 
himself. This martial- spirited workman was the father 
of the future Marshal of France. His nam.e was Ney, 
and the son who was to leave an indelible name on the 
pages of history was called Michael. 

As a little boy Michael was educated by the Monks of 
St. Augustin, where he showed a marked indisposition 
to follow the strict rules of the school. He was appren- 
ticed to a Notary, but soon gave this up, as he considered 
the copying of deeds and contracts, far too dull for his 
nature. As a matter of fact, he longed to be a soldier ; and 
this was in spite of the counsel of his father, who often 
told him that the son of a poor mechanic had no chance 
in the profession of arms, where all the high positions 
were reserved for those of noble birth. Yet he continued 
in this way of thinking, and at fifteen, deserted the Notary 
and secured a position in a mine, — hoping to find this 
more attractive. But, although the bustle and confusion 
of the works were interesting to one, who, like himself, 
loved excitement, and although he was made an overseer. 



222 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he soon tired of this occupation. There was a miUtary 
garrison near-by, where the Hfe seemed to be far more to his 
liking, so he determined to enlist as a private. As only a 
manly boy would do, he paid a visit to his parents before 
committing himself to this step, and took leave of them 
with many reproaches, entreaties, and even threats from 
both father and mother, who implored him to give up 
this occupation. But he was deaf to their entreaties, and, 
bidding them good-bye, set out for Metz with a heavy 
heart, where he arrived with ragged clothes and no money. 
Still his courage was not lacking, and he enlisted in a 
regiment of hussars with a joyful spirit. He was eighteen 
when he thus entered the service of France. 

It was not long before he had made an excellent name 
for himself. He was soon acknowledged to be the best 
swordsman in the regiment, and was the only one who could 
ride and subdue the refractory horses of the command. 
Because of this well-known ability with the rapier, he was 
chosen, when a cadet, to fight a duel with the fencing- 
master of the regiment (also quartered at Metz) after 
the fellow had insulted his own command. Young Ney 
was overjoyed to have an opportunity to distinguish him- 
self, but, unfortunately he was caught when preparing for 
the encounter, and imprisoned, — for duelling was pun- 
ishable with death. But his superiors were lenient, as they 
liked the temper of this spirited, young man. After a 
long confinement he was allowed his liberty, and soon 
afterwards secretly met the fencing-master. In a sharp 
encounter he wounded him seriously, thus disgracing the 
old bully in the eyes of his own men, and wreaking a 
just revenge for previous insults. As a consequence of 



MARSHAL NEY 223 

this affair, his opponent was subsequently dismissed the 
service, and was reduced, in later years, to great poverty. 
Ney heard of his distress, and, with characteristic warmth- 
of-heart, gave him a large sum of money. 

Marshal Ney, as a young soldier, was tall, well-propor- 
tioned, and very strong; with a head of fiery red hair, 
which caused him to be named " The Red Lion." At 
the end of the revolution in France, which led to the over- 
throw of the King, he had won a place as Lieutenant; 
but his splendid work against the Austrian army — a 
little later — gained him rapid promotion. France was 
then at war with Austria because of her determination to 
continue a democratic form of Government, to which 
all countries which were ruled by kings were, of course, 
opposed. Austria was governed for a privileged class, and 
was naturally at odds with France, for political reasons. 
During the war Ney was advanced five times. In 1793 
he was appointed aid-de-camp to General Lemarche, and, 
after this General's death, was made Captain in the very 
regiment in which he had first enlisted. Next he was 
selected to lead a detachment of cavalry in Kleber's army, 
operating in the year 1794 against the Austrians, and, as 
he had shown himself to be so energetic, he was requested 
to check the detachments of foreign troops which overran 
the country, keeping the population in awe, and destroying 
the supply trains of the French. Shortly after this, at 
a battle near Pellemberg, he made a desperate charge 
with thirty dragoons and a few orderlies, which made 
him famous, for against him were over two hundred 
Austrian hussars, whom he routed completely. Delighted 
with this heroic act, his commanding general appointed 
him to the position of Adjutant- General. 



224 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

In this campaign the Austrian army fought doggedly, 
but the troops were pushed back into their own territory 
by the French, who seemed to be inspired by the vaHant 
spirit of their leaders. At this time Ney was not only called 
" The Red Lion," but also, " The Indefatigable," because 
he seemed to be daunted by no danger, exhausted by no 
toil, and caught by no stratagem. When the soldiers 
would hear the thunder of his cannon from afar, they 
would exclaim, " Courage, the Red Lion is roaring. 
All will soon be well, for Peter the Red is coming." He 
seemed to have a soul of fire in an iron frame and wel- 
comed danger with apparent relish. His personal appear- 
ance, at this time, was also striking. His complexion was 
somewhat pale, his forehead large, and his under lip 
and chin were prominent. These strongly-marked features 
gave a manly and severe look to his countenance. Honesty 
and integrity were stamped indelibly upon them, and he 
appeared to be what he was, — a leader of men. His 
popularity among his soldiers grew greater every day, 
for they fully appreciated his sterling worth and perfect 
fearlessness in time of danger. Always willing to enter the 
hottest part of the fight, he exposed himself with the 
greatest freedom, and never called upon them to perform 
a feat which he himself would not do. 

About a month after the battle at Pellemberg, Ney and 
his troopers became separated from the rest of the army 
in an advance upon a small village called Werdt. Learning 
of the General's presence, from a captured trooper, a 
large force of Prussians placed themselves in the rear 
of his command, determined to make him prisoner. Ney 
heard of this and started to return to the armv. But soon 



MARSHAL NEY 225 

his scouts brought him word that the enemy's cavalry 
was on the left of the road in large force, and that if he 
attempted to pass, he would be undoubtedly captured. 
" Impossible ! " answered Ney to the dragoon, who 
brought him the news, " Sound the Charge ! " Waving 
his sword aloft, he dashed forward at the head of his men 
and cut a clear passage through the opposing troops. 
Thinking that the way was now clear, the French cavalry 
galloped forward, only to find, as they rounded a bend in 
the road, that another body of dragoons intercepted their 
flight. With a great show of courage, Ney again shouted, 
" Forward, my men ! Clear them aside ! " and, in another 
moment, he was among the enemy. Such was the fury 
of this onslaught that his opponents were not only routed, 
but their commander was taken prisoner. Because of 
this deed of daring, Ney was promoted to the position of 
Chief-of-Brigade. 

About a month later he thus again distinguished himself. 
While hastening to the aid of General Bernadotte, who 
was endeavouring to defeat the enemy's rear guard, he 
encountered a number of boats on the river which runs 
near Maestricht. In these he could distinguish the wheels 
of gun-carriages, so he supposed that they contained 
cannon and stores for the garrison at that place. It was 
not long before he had his men on the banks of the stream, 
and a number of them were ordered to take off their clothes 
in order to be prepared to swim to the boats, — protected 
by volley-firing by those on the bank. But the men who 
propelled the skiffs saw this action, and, fearing that 
they would be captured, sank their flotilla with all the 
powder, cannon and projectiles which they had placed 



226 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

inside. This was a most fortunate incident for the French, 
as it eventually led to the capture of the town. No one 
appreciated Ney's aid in this affair more than General 
Bernadotte, who wrote a letter to Kleber in which he said, 
" Great praise is due the brave Ney, he seconded me 
with the ability which you know he possesses, and I am 
bound to add, in strict justice, that he contributed greatly 
to the success we have obtained." 

In a skirmish that month General Ney received some 
bad wounds, which resulted in a species of lock-jaw, and 
necessitated a period of inactivity, which was most dis- 
tressing to a man of his energetic disposition, for, if any 
man loved an active life it was the intrepid Marshal. 
The wounds were received at the siege of Mayence, and 
were due to an exploit of his which was designed to show 
some raw troops under his command how to act with 
courage. Stationed near a hastily-reared redoubt which 
he saw could be captured by a few, brave men, he as- 
sembled some dragoons and sappers whom he exhorted 
to follow his lead. They started out behind him and split 
into two parties. Ney sent the sappers to the front of the 
redoubt, in order to draw the fire of the Austrians, while 
he . had the dragoons passed to the rear and crawled 
towards the earth-work along a narrow ditch. Those 
who were with him lost their courage, at the last moment, 
and allowed him to enter alone into the fortifications. He 
was immediately surrounded and attacked, but he vigor- 
ously defended himself with his sword, and made his escape 
with one deep, sabre thrust in his arm and another in his 
side. 

Upon his return to the army he was offered the position 



MARSHAL NEY 227 

of Brigadier-General, but declined the honour, alleging 
that he had not had sufficient experience to merit it. But 
not long after this, when he had captured the town of 
Forcheim, he was called before his men, and in their 
presence, was thus addressed by General Kleber, " I insist 
upon your being General-of- Brigade. You may receive 
the declaration as you please, and I shall not compliment 
you upon your modesty, because, when carried too far, 
it ceases to be a good quality." At this Ney's chasseurs 
shouted and began to applaud, while all the officers cried, 
" Hear ! Hear ! " But Ney gazed thoughtfully ahead and 
said nothing, for, he still seemed to doubt his fitness for 
the position. Kleber smiled at this show of reticence, and 
continued, " Well, you appear to be very much grieved 
and confused, but the Austrians are beyond us on the plain 
waiting for you. Go and vent your humour upon them. 
As for me, I shall acquaint the Directory with your pro- 
motion." He accordingly dispatched the following report, 
which insured the desired promotion for the gallant Ney: 

" Adjutant- General Ney, in this and in preceding 
campaigns, has given numerous proofs of talent, zeal, and 
intrepidity; but he surpassed even himself in the battle 
which took place yesterday, in which he had two horses 
killed under him. 

" I have thought myself justified in promoting him upon 
the field of battle to the rank of General-of-Brigade. 
A commission of this grade was forwarded to him eighteen 
months ago, but his modesty did not allow him then to 
accept it. By confirming this promotion, Citizen Directors, 
you will perform a striking act of justice. 

" Bernadotte." 



228 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

It is needless to remark that not only did the Directorate 
confer the desired position upon him, but Ney no longer 
refused to accept the honour. 

Shortly after this he was captured by the enemy because 
of this very impetuosity that was so much admired by 
those above him in rank. In a march towards the town 
of Giessen — with only a small force of chasseurs — he 
ran into a detachment of Austrians, outnumbering him 
three to one. His own men were put to flight after a short 
encounter, and he would have escaped with them had not 
his horse fallen and rolled with him into a ravine. Sur- 
rounded immediately by a body of Austrian dragoons, 
he refused to surrender, even after his sword had broken 
short off, near the handle. Expecting relief from his own 
side, he kept on fighting, in the hope that he could be 
rescued. But his foot slipped in some mud and he fell 
backwards upon the ground. The Austrians were im- 
mediately upon him, and he was seized and conducted in 
triumph to their camp, for they considered that they had 
done a good day's work when they had him in captivity. 
As he was carried through the streets of Giessen, a vast 
concourse of people pressed around him in order to view 
this remarkable hero, whose military fame was so much 
superior to that of the Austrian Generals. This greatly 
irritated the officer who had charge of the detachment 
of dragoons. " One would think that this was some extraor- 
dinary animal," he remarked. Whereupon a lady 
standing near-by, replied, "It is indeed extraordinary, 
for did it not take a whole squadron of dragoons to 
capture him ? " 

About a week after this, as he was one day seated in front 



MARSHAL NEY 229 

of his tent, he saw an Austrian private exercising his own 
horse, which had been brought to the enemy's camp with 
him. The Austrian officers began to laugh at the gaits 
and actions of the charger, who seemed to be absolutely 
worthless and painfully slow in his movements. This 
irritated Ney, who said, " Give me your permission, and 
I will soon show you how my own horse should be man- 
aged." The ofhcers in charge of his person gave a willing 
assent. " You cannot make anything out of that old, worn- 
out hack," one of them said, in a scoffing tone. " Watch 
me and you will see," Ney replied. A few moments 
later the Austrians greatly regretted their remarks, for, 
putting spurs to his steed, the General was soon galloping 
towards the French camp. Immediately the bugles were 
sounded and the heavy and light cavalry started in pursuit. 
Seeing that he would be captured, Ney wheeled and was 
soon back at the place from which he started, while the 
Austrians never afterw^ards joked with him about his horse. 
Eventually Ney was exchanged and soon was in com- 
mand of a portion of French army quartered on the sea 
coast, for it was Napoleon's intention to invade England. 
This brilliant Corsican had recently been elected to the su- 
preme command of the army, and was determined to do all in 
his power to harass the English nation. Fortunately for him 
the strength of the British fleet made it impossible for the 
French army to cross the channel, and the invasion was 
given up. But there was to be no rest for Ney, as the 
Austrians were still aggressive on the French frontier. 
The French division — of which he was the commander — 
was hurried to the Rhine, where General Bernadotte (the 
French commander of the Army of the Frontier) was 



230 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

endeavouring to capture a town called Manheim, that was 
rich in stores, provisions, and arms. General Ney in- 
spected the defences of the place, and told his superior 
that it could not be taken by direct attack, but that, if 
he would wait awhile, he, himself, would capture it by 
stratagem. Bernadotte was, of course, rather dubious 
that this could be accomplished, but Ney was not cast 
down by the difhculties which confronted him, and, in order 
to find out the lay of the land, disguised himself as a 
Prussian peasant in poor circumstances, crossed the Rhine 
in a small boat, and entered the town with a basket under 
his arm. Fortunately, as he had been born near the border 
between France and Germany, German was as easy 
to speak as his own tongue, so he aroused no suspicion in 
regard to his true nationality. 

From a conversation with a citizen, he learned that — • 
at a certain time in the evening — the drawbridge was 
let down in order to admit certain persons into the town. 
This was all he wished to know. Returning immediately 
to his own camp, he selected one hundred and fifty of 
his bravest men, crossed the river with them, that evening; 
and hid them near the city gates. Not long afterwards 
the drawbridge was let down and the little band dashed 
into the fortifications. The garrison thought them more 
numerous than they really were, because of the darkness 
of the night which hid their forms, and, terrified at this 
sudden and unexpected attack ; they capitulated. Thus 
the town fell into the hands of the French with scarcely 
any sacrifice of life. 

The brave leader of this daring exploit was now made 
General-of- Division and Inspector-General-of-Cavalry, in 



MARSHAL NEY 231 

recognition of his gallant and meritorious services to 
France. Soon afterwards he found himself in a position 
to marry, for his pay had been materially increased. The 
woman of his choice was a close friend of the wife of 
Napoleon and was a beautiful and accompHshed girl. 
On August the fourth, 1802, he w^as united in wedlock to 
Mile. Aglae Louise Anguic, who made a devoted and 
affectionate helpmeet. 

Not long after this Qvent the intrepid warrior was employed 
by Napoleon as Minister Plenipotentiary to Switzerland, a 
country which had submitted gracelessly to French rule. It 
was a position which required much tact and diplomacy — 
gifts which one would hardly expect a dashing cavalry- 
man to possess. But Ney proved to be an excellent minister, 
and had soon smoothed over the differences which then 
existed between that country and France. Upon the or- 
ganization of the French Empire in 1804, when Napoleon 
Bonaparte was created Emperor for life — • Ney was made 
Marshal, a position which he filled with the greatest honour. 
In the campaign against the x\ustrians which followed 
the coronation of Napoleon, he commanded a division 
at the battle of Elchingen, where he so distinguished 
himself that he was created Duke of Elchingen. At the 
batdes of Jena and Friedland which followed, he did 
splendid service. 

At Jena, the Emperor Napoleon gathered his Generals 
together — before the attack on the town — and ex- 
plained to each one what part he was to take. In front 
was a mass of Russian soldiers huddled together near the 
river. A number of bridges spanned the stream. The 
Emperor seized Ney by the arm, pointed to the Russian 



232 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

force and to the bridges. " Yonder is the goal," he said. 
" March to it without looking about you, break into that 
thick mass, whatever it costs you, enter Friedland, take 
the bridges, and give yourself no concern about what may 
happen on your right, on your left, or in the rear. The 
army and I shall be there to attend to that." Ney waved 
his sword and replied, " x\ye, sire, it shall be done as 
directed," and galloped away with his face beaming with 
satisfaction. Struck with his magnificent appearance 
at this moment. Napoleon turned to one of his Generals — 
Marshal IMortier — and said, " That man is a lion." 

In 1808 Marshal Ney was sent into Spain, where General 
Wellington — at the head of an English army of some size 
— was waging a successful campaign against Massena : 
one of Napoleon's most intelligent and able lieutenants. 
Ney commanded an army on the borders of Portugal — 
for some time — and later joined forces with Massena, 
to engage in the invasion of Portugal. But his heart was 
not in his venture, for he neither approved of Napoleon's 
course towards the Spaniards, nor did he sanction the war. 
In spite of this he obeyed orders like a good soldier, and 
laboured as faithfully and energetically in this new field, 
as he had ever done. We are indebted to a French officer 
for the following incident which occurred at Madrid, the 
capital of Spain. 

" After a grand review in the city, the Emperor entered 
the room where Ney and many of his officers were as- 
sembled. He was in the best of spirits, for he had just 
received some very favourable dispatches. ' Everything 
goes well,' said he. ' Romana will be reduced in a fort- 
night, the English are defeated and will be unable to 



MARSHAL NEY 233 

advance. In three months the war will be finished.' None 
of the other generals ventured to reply, but Ney shoo': his 
head dejectedly, and said, ' Sire, the war has lasted long 
already and I cannot perceive, like you, that our affairs 
are much improved. These people are obstinate, even 
their women and children fight, they massacre our men 
in detail. To-day we cut the enemy in pieces, to-morrow 
we have to oppose another army, twice as numerous. It 
is not an army we have to fight, but a whole nation. I see 
no end to the business.' While he was speaking, the Em- 
peror regarded him with a fixed look. When he had 
ceased, he turned to the other officers, and said, ' Here the 
people are instigated to resistance by the clergy, but the 
Romans subdued them, so did the Moors, and these 
people are not half as hardy as their ancestors. If Julius 
Caesar had been daunted by difficulties, would he have 
conquered Gaul ? The population is said to be against us ; 
this Spain is but a solitude ■ — not five inhabitants to a 
square league. But let the question be decided by numbers. 
I will bring all Europe over the Pyrenees and conquer 
these people.' " 

The sequel to this war of aggression proved that Ney 
was right — for the French troops met with severe re- 
verses and were eventually driven from the country. Ney 
had a falling out with Massena, and, in consequence, 
was relieved of his command. But he had reduced a 
portion of the country, before he left, to some sort of 
orderly submission, and had succeeded in gaining the love, 
respect, and even confidence of the people whom he gov- 
erned, — because of his sympathy and kindness of heart. 

Perhaps the best fighting which Ney did in Spain was 



234 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

at the battle of Redhira. It has been well said of him 
that here he was " the grandest and bravest General of 
all the French." Opposed by twenty-five thousand Eng- 
lish he had, under his command, but seven thousand. 
His position, however, was upon some ragged heights, 
which well made up for the disadvantage in numbers. 
The English — ■ drawn up in the plain in front — attempted 
to outflank him, but he was ready for them at every turn. 
Generals Picton and Pack endeavoured to climb the 
heights to the left and to dispute his retreat upon Redhira, 
while Generals Cole and Spencer — with other British 
troops — advanced in deep columns to the centre. A 
force of light infantry crossed the river on the right at 
some shallow fords. But Ney, employing every arm with 
equal presence of mind, began by riddling with bullets 
Picton's troops, and, by destroying whole lines, he obliged 
them to escape by an oblique movement. Having suc- 
ceeded in mastering the heights after great loss, they ad- 
vanced against the flank of Ney almost on a level, and 
were within gunshot, when the latter, bringing to bear 
upon them six guns, covered them with shot, and then 
directed against them a battalion of the 27th, and one of 
the 59th, with all his Trailleurs, who had been rallied 
and forced into a third battalion. These three, small 
columns vigorously charged Picton's English with the 
bayonet, and threw them to the foot of the heights, after 
killing and wounding a considerable number. 

In a few moments the rout, at this spot, was complete. 
Lord Wellington then advanced his centre to rally and 
rescue his right and to attack the position of the French 
in front. After a discharge of artillery and musketry, Ney 



MARSHAL NEY 235 

charged the EngUsh with the bayonet, driving them to the 
sloping ground. He then sent forward the Third Hussars, 
who broke their first hne and sabred many of their foot. 
At this moment the confusion of the whole body of the 
English was extreme, and if Ney, by having kept near him 
the Marchand division, had been able more fully to utilize 
that of Mermet, the rout would have been general and 
irrevocable. However, Ney, — unwilling to compromise his 
troops, — recalled them ; drew them up in battle array, and 
remained in position another hour, continually breaking 
the ranks of the English by ball. It was now four o'clock 
in the afternoon. Lord Wellington, touched to the quick 
at seeing himself thus detained and damaged by a handful 
of men, collected his whole army ; formed it in four lines ; 
and advanced with the evident intention to force the posi- 
tion at any cost. But Ney effected his retreat with the 
same decision and vigour that characterized his attacks in 
the earlier part of the day. 

Thus the battle of Redhira — when taken in connection 
with the operations leading up to it — was a fearless feat 
of arms. Ney's positions were so well chosen ; his handful 
of men so skilfully arranged ; his manoeuvres so brilliant ; 
his blows so daring ; so hard ; so well delivered ; that he 
kept Wellington's army at bay for six hours. Wellington 
was completely outwitted and thought that Massena's 
entire force was before him. One can well imagine how the 
Iron Duke was deeply chagrined when he discovered that 
he had been so much deceived by the manoeuvres of the 
crafty, French Marshal. 

Outnumbered by the English, Ney was forced to con- 
tinue his retreat before the incessant assaults of Lord 



236 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Wellington's over-whelming army. The retreat was a 
brilliant one, and the glory of it was the only advantage 
derived by Marshal Ney from his campaigns in Spain. 
In perfect order his own seven thousand men retired to 
Miranda do Corvo, where his quarrel with Massena, 
because disgusted with the latter' s laziness and lack of 
spirit, succeeded in his banishment froip the army. Ney 
had been severely provoked by his commanding General 
because he had paid absolutely no attention to his own 
wishes in conducting the campaign ; and when Massena 
ordered another advance into a bleak and unfertile country, 
Ney flatly refused to go on unless his superior officer 
should show him such an order from the Emperor. This, 
of course, the latter could not do and he was greatly angered 
by the attitude which Ney had assumed. So, in retalia- 
tion for his insubordination, he deprived him of his sword 
and sent him away from the army. But this did more 
harm than good, for as soon as he had departed, the French 
soldiers fought with no spirit and determination, while 
the English — knowing that Ney had left — attacked 
Massena with increased confidence and vigour, so that 
his troops were immediately thrown into the greatest 
confusion. Without firing a shot, a nearly impregnable 
position which they held was abandoned, and the cam- 
paign was brought to a close with nothing but dishonour 
and shame for Massena. Ney was the only French 
General who came out of this warfare with unsullied repu- 
tation. 

A few years later — in 1812 — Napoleon declared war 
upon Russia and began an advance upon that country 
with a vast army. These hostilities were brought on by 



MARSHAL NEY 237 

the fact that the French Empire was becoming territorially 
dangerous to Russia, because of the gradual encroachment 
on its commerce and outlying dependencies. The Czar 
refused to be dictated to by Napoleon and so the latter 
determined to humble him in the dust, as he had done 
to the other powers of Europe. Yet it was extremely im- 
prudent for the French Emperor to attack the Russians 
at this time, for a portion of the grand army had been 
severely whipped by Wellington in Spain, as has just been 
shown. The imprudent Napoleon was carried onward 
by an intense love of glory and confidence in his own 
power to accomplish the impossible. In the gigantic pro- 
ject for this campaign, Moscow was to be the objective 
point. The Emperor even expected to invade India, after 
the capitulation of the Czar — whom he hoped to force 
into supplying him with men and forage. Marshal Ney 
was placed in command of the Third Corps, numbering 
37,000 men, and although opposed to this foolhardy in- 
vasion, he never fought more valiantly than during this 
dreadful campaign. Without his aid Napoleon could have 
never had the success that followed his arms, and without 
him, that small remnant of the grand army that eventually 
returned, — would have been left to die on the frozen plains 
of Russia. 

The French army passed through Germany to the Rus- 
sian frontier; fought several sharp engagements with 
the Russians ; and eventually, at Borodino, defeated them 
conclusively. In this bloody affair, where two hundred 
and seventy thousand men struggled desperately, Ney 
behaved with such bravery that Napoleon embraced him 
on the battle-field and gave him the well-earned tide of 



238 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Prince de laMoskwa. The Russians fought like " devils," 
and although defeated, were not destroyed. This would 
have been possible had Napoleon utilized " The Guard " 
— a veteran corps of men — but fearing the loss of this 
grand body of soldiers, he refused to put them in where 
needed. The French lost ten thousand killed and twenty 
thousand wounded, as a price for the city of Moscow, 
which they entered upon the day following the battle. 

When they rode through the streets they found that 
nearly all the population had left, and that the Rus- 
sian army had not only carried off all the supphes, but 
had set fire to the wooden houses. The city was rap- 
idly devastated, and so, without supplies and without 
shelier, it would have been impossible for the French 
army to remain through the winter. After waiting in 
vain for the Czar to show some signs of giving in to his 
demands. Napoleon began to retreat to France just as 
cold weather was at hand. When the army left Moscow 
it consisted of about eighty thousand men: when it 
reached Smolensk there were only fifty thousand in the 
ranks. The retreat was one continuous battle with the 
Russians, who harassed the troops at every step and 
surrounded the worn-out soldiers with a crowd of fresh 
and blood-thirsty Cossacks. In this retreat ]\Iarshal Ney 
performed prodigies of valour, and, by his coolness and 
personal exertion, he saved the remnant of the once 
Grand Army. 

The situation of the French troops was soon desperate. 
The supplies which they had left at the towns in their rear 
had been dissipated by those in charge, the weather grew 
intensely cold, and, as there was nothing for the horses 



,PV?nC LIBRARY 



TILDE 



MARSHAL NEY 239 

to eat, they died by the hundreds. The French infantry- 
men became disheartened by cold and famine, their shoes 
became worn through so there was no protection for their 
bleeding feet, while lack of clothing and food made it 
impossible to keep the body in proper strength for fightmg. 
The Russians increased like locusts and harassed the 
worn-out French at every turn. Only with the greatest 
personal exertion and by exposing himself again and agam 
in the front of the line of battle, could Ney keep his soldiers 
from giving up in despair. 

At length the rear guard reached Smolensk, and near 
the river Losnina, found the passage barred by a large, 
Russian army. An officer appeared and summoned Ney 
to surrender, stating, in a flattering speech, that there were 
80,000 Russians surrounding him and that it would be 
absolutely impossible for him to extricate his command. 
As he ceased speaking the Russian batteries opened fire 
upon the French outposts. Ney heard them and angrily 
replied, " A Marshal of France never surrenders. There 
is no parleying under fire. You are my prisoner, Sir." 
So the cocky officer was disarmed and detained as a 
prisoner until the army reached Kowno, for Ney's eight 
thousand had soon eluded the surrounding host and made 
a forced march to the river Dneiper. Here the gallant 
Marshal hoped to cross on the ice with all his baggage, 
but it was frozen so thinly that it was found impracticable 
to attempt to get the wagons to the other side. At mid- 
night the soldiers walked across in single- file, while a few 
women and wounded men — in spite of the protests of 
the General — attempted to drive over in the wagons. 
When in the middle of the stream, the ice gave away, and, 



240 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

with despairing shrieks and cries of fear, the luckless 
fugitives disappeared in the cold waters of the cruel river. 

Thus the Russians were temporarily evaded, but they 
were soon again on the flanks of Ney's devoted band, which 
they attacked with the greatest fury. Three times the 
rear guard melted away beneath Ney's eyes, by death, 
captivity, or flight, and three times it was reorganized 
by the courageous Marshal. Finally, with only thirty men, 
he defended the gate of Kowno, which was the last place 
on Russian soil through which the French army passed 
in its awful retreat. Bidding his soldiers to escape to the 
other end of the town, he fired the last shot against the 
Cossacks, threw his gun into the river Niemen, and 
plunged alone into the forests in order to elude his pursuers. 

Napoleon was at Orcha, breakfasting with some officers, 
when he heard that Marshal Ney had rejoined the ranks 
of the French. Jumping from the chair in which he was 
sitting, in a transport of delight, he exclaimed, " I have 
saved my eagles, then, I have three hundred millions in 
my coffers at the Tuilleries which I would have ransomed 
my Marshal with had he been captured. I would willingly 
have given them all to save Marshal Ney." Soon after- 
wards the brave leader of the Rear Guard was admitted 
to his presence. " What a man ! What a soldier ! " the 
Emperor exclaimed, as he threw his arms about him. 
" Better an army commanded by a lion than an army of 
lions commanded by a deer. You, my dear Ney, have 
been, and always will be, as strong as a mighty lion." 

During the retreat. Napoleon had frequently asked his 
aids if there was any news of the Rear Guard, and Marshal 
Ney. He showed inexpressible anguish when told that 



MARSHAL NEY 241 

nothing had been heard of him, and exclaimed, " Ney 
has a thoroughly tempered soul. How true, how accurate 
his knowledge of war. How admirable his military 
qualities I What a man he is ! I have few men about me 
who have any real energy, firmness, or moral force. How 
badly am I served. To whom have I trusted myself? 
Poor Ney, whose noble form I fear that my eyes shall never 
look upon again." 

General Count Dumas gives an excellent picture of the 
brave Ney at this time and after his appearance among his 
own troops. " At length," he says, " we were out of that 
accursed country — the Russian territory — the Cossacks 
no longer pursued us with the same ardour. In proportion 
as we advanced into the Prussian territory, we found 
better quarters and more resources. The first place at 
which we were able to take breath was Wilkoski, and the 
next, Gumbinnen, where I put up at the house of a phy- 
sician which I had occupied when I passed through the 
town before. Some excellent coffee had just been brought 
us for our breakfast when a man in a great, brown coat 
entered. He had a long beard, his face was blackened 
and looked as if it were burnt. His eyes were red and 
brilliant. ' At length I am here,' said he. ' Why, 
General Dumas, don't you know me ? ' 'No, who are you ? ' 
* I am the rear guard of the army. I have thrown into the 
Niemen the last of our arms and have come hither through 
the woods. I am Marshal Ney ! ' I leave you to imagine 
with what respectful eagerness we welcomed the hero of 
the Russian retreat." 

At last the battered remains of the grand army for the 
Russian invasion, came back to France. But there was 



242 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

to be no peace for Napoleon, for new coalition between 
Prussia, England, and Russia w^as formed against him, 
and he had to fight in order to preserve his position on the 
French throne. In 1814 he employed his great Marshal 
in his campaign against these Allies, and was so well satisfied 
by his handling of troops at the battle of Liitzen and 
Bautzen, that he publicly congratulated him. Subse- 
quently Marshal Ney was defeated with great loss at 
Danewitz, by Bernadotte, then Crown Prince of Sweden, 
but at one time a French General under whom Ney him- 
self had seen service. As was only natural, this defeat 
brought upon him the displeasure of Napoleon, and he 
was little employed during the rest of the campaign, in 
which the Allies showed themselves to be too strong for 
the once invincible Emperor of the French. The French 
Ruler was forced back into Paris ; the capital of the French 
nation was captured, and he was allowed to abdicate in 
favour of the Bourbons. Sent, in captivity, to the island of 
Elba, this restless man of Destiny was not to remain there for 
any length of time. In a year he had escaped again to the 
shores of France and had begun a triumphant march to 
Paris. 

An army — under the command of Marshal Ney — 
was sent to capture him, and the gallant General promised 
King Louis the Eighteenth, that he would bring the ex- 
Emperor to Paris, " like a beast in a cage." There is 
little doubt that he intended to do so, but when he found 
that every-one was turning to the side of the Emperor, 
he wavered in his intention. Even his own troops refused 
to take their former leader prisoner, and, as they advanced 
against him, Ney received a letter from the Emperor, 



MARSHAL NEY 243 

calling him many flattering names and asking him to join 
his old master beneath the tricolour of the standard which 
they had both fought for so gloriously in days gone by. 
Seized with the contagion that was everywhere apparent, 
he, himself, went over to the Emperor, and, on March 
2oth Napoleon reentered the Tuilleries which Louis the 
Eighteenth — the Bourbon King— had quitted the day 
before. Thus without firing a gun or shedding a drop of 
blood, he had reinstated himself in power and had re- 
established his Empire. 

But he soon found that he must fight in order to sustain 
his position. Every country in Europe was against him, 
and an army of Austrians, Prussians, English, and Rus- 
sians, menaced the frontier of France, fully prepared to 
attack when the opportunity offered itself. Napoleon 
saw his danger and realized that a victory in Belgium 
might create a different sentiment both at home and 
abroad; consequently he crossed the Sambre with one 
hundred and twenty-four thousand men, expecting to 
surprise the Prussians, under Blucher; rout this army; 
and defeat the Duke of Wellington, who was nearby with 
a large, English force. The French advanced against 
both these adversaries divided into three Corps: the 
right wing under Grouchy; the centre under Napoleon; 
and the left under Marshal Ney, who had been summoned 
to join the army on the very day on which the campaign 
opened. He had not known until the last moment that 
he was to be employed, and was assigned to command a 
body of troops which he had never seen before. He ar- 
rived at headquarters without any staff" or confidential 
officers ; and when ordered by the Emperor to put himself 



244 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

at the head of the First and Second Corps of Infantry and 
several divisions of cavalry, — they were already in 
action. 

In the fierce fighting that follov^ed, Ney stands out as 
the greatest hero of the occasion. Napoleon was clearly 
not the Napoleon of old — he was lacking in his earlier 
fire and keenness of perception. But Ney was the same 
Ney of all times : brave, dashing, courageous, — The 
Bravest of the Brave. On the i6th of June he attacked 
Wellington at Quatre Bras and handled his troops so 
well that the Iron Duke was checked in his attempt to 
advance. He was forced to fall back upon Waterloo, 
where he concentrated his men in order to make a deter- 
mined resistance to the superior numbers which were 
before him, for Napoleon had now joined with Ney after 
beating the Prussians at Ligny. They had fled, and Gen- 
eral Grouchy had been sent after them with strict orders 
not to allow this force to join with Wellington. 

On the day following, Ney acted as the Emperor's 
chief Lieutenant, and here at Waterloo, he led his last 
charge. Skirmishing between the English and the French 
began in the morning and soon the battle opened. In the 
earlier part of the day neither side had the advantage, 
but in the afternoon Ney captured La Haye Sainte, a 
strongly fortified farm-house and the key to the English 
line, for it was scarcely three hundred yards from Welling- 
ton's front. This made the position of the English army 
an extremely critical one. Napoleon saw the situation, 
with the eye of a born soldier, and determined to stake 
his empire on a single charge. So he ordered Marshal 
Ney to penetrate the English centre with the cavalry. 



MARSHAL NEY 245 

The intrepid Marshal had expected to be sustained by 
infantry, but clouds of Prussians were advancing on the 
right, so that Napoleon had to send Lobou's corps and the 
Young Guard to repel their attack. These were Bliicher's 
troops, which had outmarched General Grouchy and 
were hurrying to the relief of Wellington. It was there- 
fore absolutely necessary for Ney to break the English 
centre. Should he not do so, — defeat stared Napoleon 
in the face. 

The cavalry column now charged up the hill to the 
plateau where Wellington stood like a rock. Ney had 
even put in the reserve cavalry in order to increase his 
force. He confidently expected to carry all before him, 
but the Englishmen formed hollow squares and held their 
own against the swarms of French horsemen as they came 
up the slope. The artillery cut great gaps in the hnes 
of the cuirassiers. They were driven from the plateau in 
confusion. Ney had two horses shot under him; he was 
wounded, bleeding, his face blackened with smoke and 
burnt powder; but nothing could curb his impetuous 
spirit. " Forward, Frenchmen ! " he called. " Let us 
drive the English from the hill ! " 

Eleven times he rode up at the head of the cavalry and 
eleven times he was repulsed. At seven o'clock the last 
charge was made and it was growing dark. The cavalry- 
men were exhausted with their efforts to crush the stub- 
born Red-Coats ; they were helplessly confused and their 
organization was gone. To add to the disaster, fresh, 
Prussian troops were coming up on the right, where the 
Young Guard had been so defeated that the soldiers were 
falling back in retreat. At this propitious moment, 



246 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Wellington saw that he, himself, could go forward. " Up, 
Guards, and at them ! " he shouted to his men. 

They rose en masse at this command, and the 
English army advanced down the hill where the Old 
Guard stood like stone images. " Surrender ! " shouted 
the Red-Coats. " The Old Guard dies but never 
surrenders ! " replied the French. Napoleon himself was 
with this favourite body of troops ; crazed with mortifica- 
tion and grief. He drew his sword; rushed out towards 
the enemy; and attempted to die before the English 
bullets. But his generals surrounded him; placed him 
upon his horse; turned towards Paris; and fled. Ney 
cheered on the disheartened French; formed the Old 
Guard into squares, and vainly endeavoured to stem the 
advance of the victorious English and Prussians. It was 
useless ! They were mowed down like wheat before the 
reaper's scythe. They broke ! They crumbled ! They 
fled ! and Ney — the hero of the hour — the bravest man 
in all that defeated army — was carried back to Paris in 
the retreating tide. Bonaparte; his army; and his Em- 
pire ; ceased to exist as a power on that day. The glorious 
light of Napoleon's ambition was extinguished on the field 
of Waterloo. 

Wellington and Blucher marched to Paris; in a few 
days the city capitulated, and the Bourbons were again 
upon the throne. Ney foresaw the consequences of his act 
in deserting the Bourbon King for the Emperor Napoleon, 
and secreted himself in a Chateau, but unfortunately 
he was discovered, and soon brought to trial. His friends 
tried unsuccessfully to have him arraigned before a council 
of war, composed of the Marshals of France, but he was 



MARSHAL NEY 247 

judged by the Chamber of Peers by express direction of 
the King's ministers. It was not strange that he was 
found guilty of treason to the Crown, for he had deserted 
in favour of Napoleon when sent to capture him. History 
tells us that he was shot on December the 7th, 181 5. 

But although this is the popular idea concerning him, 
he was not shot. He escaped to the United States, 
settled in the Carolinas, and there taught school for a great 
many years. He died there when quite an old man, and, 
according to the statements of those who were beside him 
when he breathed his last, he declared repeatedly that he 
was Napoleon's great Marshal. The testimony, too, of 
those who knew him at the time bears conclusive witness 
that he was no imposter. According to his own declaration, 
when thesoldiers,firedat him (at his supposed assassination) 
they shot above his head, and, as he fell upon his face, he 
struck a small bag upon his chest which contained a red 
liquid resembling blood. This broke and gave the im- 
pression to those who viewed him that he was grievously 
wounded. He was placed in a cart and carried away from 
the scene of his supposed execution, only to be disguised 
and smuggled aboard a sailing vessel by military friends. 
It was his hope to some day return to France, but this was 
never possible because of the non-restoration of Napoleon. 
Thus, far from the scenes of his many exploits and ad- 
ventures, the gallant Marshal of France — the Bravest 
of the Brave — passed into oblivion among a people who 
still retain the Democratic forms of Government for which 
he himself fought; and away from a people who soon 
discarded the very reforms for which he had so zealously 
laboured. 



JOACHIM MURAT : THE GREAT NAPOLEONIC 
LEADER OF HORSE 

[1771 — 1815] 

SOME -ONE asked Napoleon, one day, what his 
opinion was of his great leaders of cavalry, Ney and 
Murat. " They were two of the bravest men I have 
ever known," he replied. "Murat, however, had a much 
braver character than Ney : Murat was generous and open, 
while Ney had common blood in his veins. With respect 
to physical courage, it waft impossible for Murat and Ney 
not to be brave; but no men ever possessed less moral 
courage, the former in particular." 

Again he drew an excellent picture of Murat, when 
asked his views about him by an English General who was 
stationed to watch him at St. Helena, where he spent 
his declining years. 

" Murat," he said, " was the best cavalry officer in the 
world. There were not, I believe, two such officers in the 
universe as Murat for the cavalry, and Druot for the 
artillery. Murat was a most singular character. Four- 
and-twenty years ago, when he was a Captain, I made him 
my aid-de-camp, and subsequently raised him to what he 
was. He loved, I may say adored me. In my presence 
he was, as it were, struck with awe, and ready to fall at my 
feet. I acted wrong in having him separated from me, 
248 




JOACHIM MURAT 



JOACHIM MURAT 249 

as, without me, he was nothing. With me, he was my right 
arm. Order Murat to attack and destroy five thousand 
men in such a direction, it was done in a moment; but 
leave him to himself, he was an imbecile without judgment. 
I cannot conceive how so brave a man could be so change- 
able. He was nowhere brave save before the enemy. 
There he was probably the bravest man in the world. 
His boiling courage carried him into the midst of the enemy, 
covered with feathers and glittering with gold. How he 
escaped my wars is a miracle, being always a distinguished 
mark, and fired at by everybody. Even the Cossacks 
admired him on account of his extraordinary bravery. 
Every day — during the advance in Russia— Murat 
was engaged in single combat with one of them, and never 
returned without his sabre dripping with the blood of some 
of those whom he had slain. He was a marvel in the field ; 
but take him into the Cabinet, he w^as a poltroon without 
judgment or decision." 

Joachim Murat was a man of the most striking, personal 
appearance and had a tremendous reputation for valour 
among the common people. To the masses in France 
he was the greatest hero of the Napoleonic wars; for his 
size, strength, and deeds of heroism, were written-up 
in the newspapers by the reporters of the day and spread 
broadcast over the entire land. He possessed a command- 
ing presence; a majestic countenance; large, sparkhng, 
blue eyes; dark, waving hair, which fell in long ringlets 
over the collar of his uniform ; and side-whiskers of con- 
siderable length. He dressed in the most extraordinary 
style imaginable ; and put on such an ill-assorted mixture 
of colours, that he looked more like a player from the 



250 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

circus than a General-of-Cavalry. His clothes were bor- 
rowed from all ages and countries and seemed to be more 
what a barbarian King would wear than a civilized French- 
man. Next to the Emperor Napoleon, who wore only 
sombre colours, he looked like a mountebank. 

" His coat consisted of a Polish dress," says the Baron 
Von Odeloben, " the collar of which was richly embroid- 
ered with gold, and the sleeves were open below the 
shoulder; it was confined with a golden belt, to which 
was suspended a light sword, with a straight, narrow 
blade, of the ancient, Roman fashion, the handle of which 
was beautifully ornamented with rubies, sapphires, and 
other precious stones. Underneath the coat were full 
pantaloons of a purple or blood colour, with the seams 
trimmed with gold, and, his boots were of yellow leather. 
He wore over the whole — in cold weather — a superb, 
velvet pelisse of a deep, green colour, trimmed with sables. 
In his hat was a snow-white plume which towered to an 
immense height and was composed of four, large ostrich 
feathers, diverging at right angle, from the centre of which 
sprang a magnificent heron's plume. This splendid orna- 
ment arose out of a huge, cocked hat, having a broad, 
gold border, and edged with white, ostrich feathers. The 
trappings of his horse were of the Hungarian or Turkish 
fashion: the animal was covered with a trailing blue or 
purple housing, richly embroidered with gold, while fine, 
gilt stirrups and a magnificent bridle, completed the show. 
The livery of his equerries, pages and servants, was some- 
times of a deep red, or more frequently of a sky blue, which 
seemed to be his favourite colour. It must be owned," 
continues the Baron, " that this mixture of Swedish, 



JOACHIM MURAT 251 

Spanish, Roman, Turkish, and NeapoUtan fashions, 
notwithstanding its splendour, exhibited no taste." 

In spite of this love of finery, colour, and display ; Murat 
— as Napoleon says — was a cavalry leader of extraordi- 
nary courage when in battle. His youth had been an in- 
auspicious one, as he was the son of a poor tavern keeper, 
and was so dissipated and wild when a boy, that he was 
dismissed from the Church school to which his father had 
sent him. In spite of this, his good parent took him back 
to his heart and allowed him to assist in the stabling of 
horses at the Inn. This life was as distasteful to him as 
the days of study in the school, so, in 1787, he enlisted in 
a regiment of French chasseurs and remained with them 
until severely punished for some misconduct. He then 
deserted — hastened to Paris — and was soon in such a 
needy condition that he was forced to seek employment 
as a waiter in a restaurant. He left this work to become 
a private in the constitutional guards of Louis XVI, but, 
as the regiment was soon disbanded, he was again forced 
to look for another means of earning a livelihood. Finally 
the unfortunate young man became a Lieutenant in the 
Eleventh Regiment of chasseurs, in which he served during 
the stormy scenes at Paris which surrounded the end of 
the rule of King Louis XVI and the beginning of the 
Directory with Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul. 

The young soldier was burning with ardour and zeal, 
and soon distinguished himself, after finding employment 
with the great Napoleon, in his first, Italian campaign. 
The Leader of the French army liked the boisterous 
Murat and appointed him his principal aid-de-camp, 
with the rank of Colonel-of-Cavalry, — a position in which 



252 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he soon had an opportunity to display his fire, dash, and 
love for fighting. At Mondoir — a small and insignificant 
town — the forces of the French and Italians were soon 
engaged in a furious struggle, in which a strong redoubt — 
the key to the Italian position — was held by a consider- 
able force. Finally, after superhuman efforts on the part 
of the French infantry, the redoubt was carried, and Murat 
— with his cavalry — precipitated himself upon the 
squadrons of Piedmontese horse. A desperate encounter 
took place, but nothing could withstand the onrush of the 
French ; the Italians broke and fled in confusion, followed 
for miles by the horsemen of IMurat. He, himself, was 
in the thick of the fray; cut down many men with his 
sabre ; and, although recklessly exposing himself on the line 
of battle, did not receive a scratch. It was his first success- 
ful engagement and Napoleon was warm in his congratu- 
lations. So highly did the Directory consider his merits, 
that when he shortly afterwards visited Paris bearing 
"twenty-one strands of colours as witness to the victories 
in Italy, the members were overjoyed and conferred upon 
him the rank of Brigadier- General. 

Napoleon speaks most highly of the fiery Murat in his 
memoirs of his first campaign in Italy. " At Mincio," 
he says, " the bold Murat charged the enemy's cavalry 
like a whirlwind and obtained an important success for 
my arms. It was the first time that the French cavalry — 
because of its bad condition — had measured its strength 
with the Austrian cavalry, and from this time the French 
cavalry emulated the French infantry." Murat was in 
the battle of Rwoliand and Tagliamento, where his 
conduct also won his chief's applause, and in the expedi- 



JOACHIM MURAT 253 

tion to Egypt, which was made after the successful climax 
of the Italian campaign, the inn-keeper's son was attached 
to the engineer corps, where his skill and bravery was 
marvelled at by all. 

Murat next sailed with his General-in-Chief for Egypt, 
where Napoleon overthrew the Mamelukes at the Battle 
of the Pyramids,, and, advancing through the country into 
Palestine, defeated the Turks with enormous slaughter, 
but received a severe check at Acre. On his return to 
Egypt, however, he won a brilliant victory over the Egyp- 
tians at Aboukir, where Murat distinguished himself by 
his great courage and heroism. " Murat," says Napoleon, 
" was superb at Aboukir. His genius and daring was 
matched by no one." In this fight the French soldiers 
formed hollow squares against which the hostile horsemen 
hurled themselves repeatedly, but they were unable to 
penetrate through the lines of fixed bayonets. Tiring of 
this form of warfare, the impetuous Murat rushed into the 
open, and single-handed, attacked several of the dusky 
Arabs who were forming for another charge. He felled 
one of them with a blow from his sword, but was soon 
beset on all sides and was cut in the arm by a lance thrust. 
He would have surely been killed, had not a body of French 
cuirassiers galloped to the rescue, at this moment, 
and brought him back into the French lines. All were 
electrified by this gallant exploit. 

Finding now that matters were in great confusion in 
France, Napoleon, without consulting the home govern- 
ment, left the army in Egypt, and embarking secretly 
on a French frigate, returned to his own country. He 
found that the Directory — or governing body — had 



254 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

failed, and that anarchy prevailed. The general of the 
Egyptian army felt that his was the genius to conceive and 
execute the bold deed of severing the reins of government 
and declaring himself First Consul. 

So on the loth of November, 1799, he entered the 
Chamber of the Ancients and protested against the Con- 
stitution under which the members were formed. Leaving 
the Senators overwhelmed with surprise at his remarks, he 
walked to the Council of the Five Hundred — the other 
governing body — accompanied by about twenty officers 
and grenadiers, among whom was Murat. Napoleon re- 
proached the members vehemently for their misrule, 
refused to swear to the Constitution, and declared that 
the Directory was an incompetent body. He was received 
with cries of " Outlaw him ! Down with the Dictator ! " 
and, frightened by their display of unfriendliness, he 
went outside, where he mounted his horse and made a 
stirring speech to the troops. " Soldiers, can I count on 
you to aid me?" he asked. "Yes, yes," shouted the 
military men. " Clear the hall, then," cried the First 
Consul, turning to Murat. " It shall be as you say," 
replied his aid, and rushing into the assembly room with 
his grenadiers, he soon had driven out the infuriated 
members and had placed Napoleon upon the consular 
throne. 

Napoleon immediately began to assert his power and 
was soon at war with Austria. In the spring of the year 
1800, having made the enemy believe that he was about 
to attack Germany near the Rhine, he secretly led his army 
across the Alps and swept down upon the Austrians en- 
camped in the valley of the Po. A furious struggle began 



JOACHIM MURAT 255 

at Marengo, which was one of the most brilUant of Na- 
poleon's battles. " The battle was bloody," says Napoleon 
in his memoirs, and one of his Marshals wrote afterwards, 
" In my division the bones were crackling like a shower 
of hail falling on a sky-light." Murat was a general of 
division in this campaign and conducted himself with such 
great bravery that he received the congratulations of the 
First Consul, who placed his hand upon his shoulder, after 
the battle of Marengo, and said, " Had I more men like 
you, my brave Murat, we would soon quench the power 
of Austria, hke a fire-brand with a bucket of water." 

The attack at this famous battle began at an early hour, 
and was so furious on the part of the Austrians, that an en- 
tire division of the French army (General Victor's) was so 
broken, that his soldiers retired in confusion across the 
plain with cries of " All is lost." Seeing that things were 
going badly with his men. Napoleon hurried up with the 
reserves. The sight of the great leader with his brilhant 
staff and two hundred horse grenadiers, in bright uniforms 
and high, fur caps, gave renewed courage to the fugitives, 
and so inspired them, that they rallied near a small village. 
At this juncture Napoleon rode up to Marshal Desaix, who 
was holding his troops well in hand, under a furious fire 
from the Austrian gunners. " Well," said the General, 
" affairs are going on badly, the battle is lost; I can only 
secure the retreat. Is this not so? " " It is quite the re- 
verse," replied the First Consul, " to me the result of the 
battle has never been in doubt. The battle is gained." 
And, with this cheerful remark, he hastened to concentrate 
the cavalry corps for a mighty charge. " Soldiers ! we 
have now retired far enough. You know that I am in the 



256 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

habit of sleeping upon the field of battle," said Napoleon, 
as he rode along the line. " Charge, and retrieve the for- 
tunes of the day." With a wild cheer the soldiers again 
renewed the fight and, after a desperate charge by the 
cavalry, the Austrians were driven in confusion from the 
field. 

Murat had fought well in this campaign, and had gained 
the reputation of having the fiercest courage in battle. He 
was affable, polished and gallant, qualities which appealed 
with equal force to both men and women. A close intimacy 
sprang up between himself and the sister of Napoleon — 
Caroline Bonaparte — which subsequently ripened into 
love. To her the brilliant aid-de-camp was married on 
the 2oth of January, 1800, and from now on the great leader 
of cavalry had aspirations for glory and renown which 
proved to be his undoing. In 1802 he was made Governor 
of the Cisalpine Republic, and two years later was created 
a Marshal of the Empire and commander of the Paris 
National Guard. In the next year he took part in the 
campaign of Austerlitz, which ended most gloriously for 
the fortunes of Napoleon, and which placed France in a 
position of power and influence which she has never held 
since that time. 

Russia, Austria, England, and Sweden were in a 
miHtary alliance against France, and hovered upon the 
borders of the French country with detached armies of 
many thousand men. Against these the genius of Napo- 
leon was pitted, and against them he marched with forces 
of one-half their number, to disperse, if possible, the over- 
whelming numbers of the enemy. An army of one hundred 
and eighty thousand men was moved forward towards 



JOACHIM MURAT 257 

the Rhine, and in this force Murat had charge of the 
cavalry corps. A body of four thousand Austrians, dis- 
patched by General Mack (the Austrian commander) 
to aid another wing of his army, were surrounded and cut 
to pieces by the impetuous Frenchman, and to deliver him- 
self from capture, the Austrian retreated. At Elchingen 
Murat captured a large part of the Austrian army under 
Werneck. This broke the back of the courageous Mack, 
who subsequendy capitulated at Ulm with thirty-thousand 
men. No sooner was the victory won than Murat was 
dispatched by Napoleon to seize a bridge near Vienna, in 
order to cut off a second Austrian army which was march- 
ing to wreak vengeance upon the victorious, French troops. 
But the enemy escaped the bold leader of cavalry and con- 
centrated near Austerlitz, where Napoleon had decided to 
give battle to this fresh army. " Examine this locality 
well," he said to his officers. " In a few days this will be 
our field of battle." 

Napoleon had ninety thousand men; against him was 
the Austrian army and a large force of Russians, who had 
joined them. " If I wished to gain an ordinary victory, I 
should receive battle on these heights," said he, " but I 
perceive that the enemy is marching to turn my right and I 
wish to betray him to his ruin, for, if I can attack him as 
he moves sideways, the battle is won." So saying, he 
marched his army from the high ground to a position near 
a small stream and some marshes at Brum. Murat, with 
his cavalry, formed the second line, and was to take a most 
important part in the coming engagement. 

It was winter, and upon the following day, a low fog 
rested upon the ground. Napoleon and his marshals stood 



258 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

upon an elevation commanding the whole scene, as the 
sun rose — burning the mists away — and exposing the 
glittering ranks of the Austrian army to view. The Allies 
were in motion to turn the French right, and, perceiving 
the splendid advantage which the genius of Napoleon had 
given them, his Marshals eagerly besought him for the signal 
to advance. " Not yet, Gentlemen," said the great leader 
of the armies of France. "When your enemy is executing 
a false movement never interrupt him." Thus he held his 
impetuous soldiers in a leash, like a hunter with his hounds, 
and when firing was at length heard on the right,— which 
warned him that the left wing of the Allies had come in 
contact with his men, — he cried out, " Now is the moment ! 
Soldiers, the enemy has imprudently exposed himself to 
our blows. We shall finish the campaign by a clap of 
thunder ! " 

After the first clash of arms the powerful corps of 
Austrian cuirassiers penetrated to the French centre, but 
here they met Murat — at the head of the cavalry of 
Napoleon's guard — who charged them with so much 
fury, that they were almost totally annihilated. The day 
looked bright for the French, when, at about one o'clock, 
a formidable body of infantry and cavalry was seen de- 
bouching from the plain between the French centre and 
left. It was the Russian, imperial guard, a number of 
squadrons of horse, some cuirassiers, and a battery of four 
guns. These attacked the French column in flank and 
threw it into such disorder that Napoleon immediately 
dispatched two squadrons of chasseurs to check the 
disorganization, assisted by Murat with all the cavalry 
of the Guard. " Forward," shouted the brave Murat. 











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1 



MURAT AT THE BATTLE OF WERTINGEN 



t;:e i;^v/ yoPvK • 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



JOACHIM MURAT 259 

" See how our brothers and friends are getting cut to pieces ; 
avenge them; avenge our flag! " And rushing forward, 
the enemy was driven back and their guns were captured. 
The Russians now ralUed and renewed the attack with 
fury, so that a close contest ensued where both cavalry and 
infantry was so mixed that the artillery men of neither side 
dared fire for fear of wounding their own men. It was a 
sanguinary battle, " horse to horse and man to man," but, 
at last, the bull-dog courage of the French carried all before 
them and the enemy broke in wild disorder. Ten thousand 
were either slain or taken prisoner, while a large body 
retreated over the frozen surface of a lake where the ice 
gave way and drowned about two thousand. Murat 
repeatedly attacked one close column which retreated 
doggedly, but which would not give way before his on- 
slaught. When the sun went down the Allies were in full 
retreat and victory perched upon the Eagles of Napoleon. 
After the successful termination of the campaign the 
spirited cavalry leader was made Grand-Duke of Cleves 
and Berg, and in 1808 was appointed General-in-Chief 
of the army in Spain. On the 15th of July, 1808, he was 
created King of Naples under the name of Joachim 
Napoleon. He took part in the campaign against Prussian 
and Poland with added glory to himself, and displayed 
the greatest talent as a leader of cavalry. Before one of the 
numerous battles in which he was engaged, accompanied 
by a small escort, he exposed his person in such a 
manner that a squadron of the enemy made after 
him to capture him. An officer apparently recognized 
the newly-created monarch, because of his brilliant uni- 
form, and eagerly galloped after him, crying out, " Stop, 



260 FAAiOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

King of Naples, Stop ! " As he rushed after the flying 
cavalryman, Murat's Aid turned about, and, with a 
well directed sword thrust, killed the pursuing officer, — 
a deed of gallantry for which he received the Legion of 
Honour. As the army retreated, some days later, Murat 
was apparently recognized by the Prussian artillery men 
— as he stood with Napoleon upon the banks of a stream 
— for they turned their guns upon him, and bullets, cannon- 
balls, and shells began to fall dangerously near the Em- 
peror. " They are firing at you. Sire," said one of Napo- 
leon's aids. " Nay," replied the French General-in-Chief, 
" they are trying to wing Murat, my bird of paradise." 

On May 9th, 181 2, Napoleon — who was no longer 
First Consul, but Emperor — left his palace for a cam- 
paign with Russia. He was now in the zenith of his power : 
the French Empire over which he ruled extended from 
Denmark to Naples : he held the German states in sub- 
jection : Austria and Prussia crouched at his feet : and 
he wished to humble the pride of the Czar of Russia, 
Murat was with him as General-of-Cavalry, and in this 
disastrous campaign, played a part as prominent, but by 
no means as effective, as that of Marshal Ney. 

After passing through Germany with little opposition, 
and having several brushes with the Russians, Napoleon 
arrived at Witepsk, where he threw his sword abruptly 
down on the maps of Russia with which his tables were 
covered, and cried, " Here I stop ! here I must look 
around me, rally and refresh my army and organize 
Poland; the campaign of 181 2 is finished; that of 1813 
will do the rest." But Murat was impatient of repose and 
longed for the excitement of battle, and leaving the ad- 



JOACHIM MURAT 261 

vance guard — with whom he was stationed — he went 
to Witepsk and sought a private interview with the Em- 
peror for the purpose of stimulating him to further fighting. 
" The enemy are cowards," he said to Napoleon. '' The 
army is panic struck and would retreat before the light 
troops. Come, Sire, let us put them to flight and gloriously 
end the campaign ! " 

" Murat," replied the Emperor, " the first campaign 
in Russia is finished. Let us here plant our Eagles ; two 
great rivers mark our position ; let us raise block houses 
on that Une ; let our fires cross each other in all directions ; 
let us form in square battalion ; cannons at the angles and 
exterior; our quarters and magazines in the interior; 
1813 will see us in Moscow; 1814 in St. Petersburg. The 
Russian war is a war of three years." 

This was the sagacious perception of the great Emperor, 
and had he followed this judgment, things would have not 
gone so ill with him in later years. ]Murat retired to his 
own command, abashed and ashamed at the reply to his 
request, while Napoleon became tormented with doubts 
and irresolute thoughts which affected his whole frame. 
He was seen by his attendants to wander about his apart- 
ments, as if pursued by some dangerous temptation ; he 
took up a piece of writing only to lay it aside again with 
indifference ; he paced before his tent with apparently no 
object in view; continually asked what o'clock it was, and 
kept looking at his watch. He would stop; hum a tune; 
and then begin walking about again with an absent air. 
Occasionally his face would brighten as he met some one 
whom he knew, and he would address them with such 
half-sentences, as, " Well, what shall we do ? Shall we 



262 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

stay where we are, or advance ? How is it possible to stop 
short in so glorious a career?" and, not waiting for an 
answer, he would continue wandering about as if looking 
for somebody who could answer these perplexing questions. 
Finally he would throw himself upon one of his beds, but 
here he had no rest, for his mind seemed to be as acute 
as ever. He would toss about, groan, and cry out aloud in 
his anguish. A Historian says, " The reasons impelling 
him to advance and finish the campaign by a brilliant 
stroke, presented themselves to him ./ih irresistible force. 
Having at last determined upon his course, he arose, 
hastened to his maps, which presented to his view the 
cities of Smolensk and Moscow, 'the great Moscow, the 
Holy City,' — names which he repeated with satisfaction. 
Fired with the prospect of a speedy advance, his spirit, 
replete with the energy of his great conception, appeared 
to be possessed with the genius of war. His voice deepened, 
his eyes blazed, and his counten; nee grew dark with 
thought and resolution. His attendants retreated from 
his presence, struck with mingled awe and respect; but, 
at length, the plan of advance became fixed, his determina- 
tion was taken, and the order of march was traced out> 
Instandy the internal struggle by which he had been 
agitated subsided, and, no sooner was he delivered of this 
terrible conception than his countenance assumed its 
usual composed and tranquil character." 

Of all the Generals in the army Murat was the only one 
who urged the Emperor to advance upon Moscow. All 
the others — including Ney — were against such a pro- 
ceeding, and repeatedly advised their chief not to move 
further into Russian territory. But Napoleon was ob- 



JOACHIM MURAT 263 

durate, and dispatching the head-strong Murat to take 
charge of the Advance Guard, was soon marching upon 
Smolensk. His leader of cavalry was overjoyed at this 
departure. " See the Russians," he exclaimed with dis- 
dain, " they wilt before our lines like chaff before the 
wind." When Smolensk was taken, his impetuous ardour 
cooled a bit, and he began to think that further advance 
into the enemy's country was too hazardous a proceeding 
to undertake. But nothing could now shake the decision 
of the Emperor to take Moscow. " On, on, Soldiers of 
France," he said. " We must humble the pride of these 
Northern plunderers and capture their sacred city." 

Murat drove the Russians beyond the Osma River 
anc' pursued them with great impetuosity through the 
narrow defile between the banks of the stream. There 
was a sharp fight, and — at a critical moment • — a battery 
in Davoust's corps refused to fire, and thus a violent quarrel 
began between Murat and this cold and calculating 
Marshal, who was the exact antithesis of the dashing 
cavalryman. Napoleon rode up while the dispute was in 
progress, and, although he had a high regard for Davoust, 
sustained the impetuous system of Murat, and censured 
the slow-moving leader of Infantry. So the advance con- 
tinued, while clouds of Cossacks hovered about the head 
of the column, which Murat in vain attempted to disperse. 
At last, irritated by the necessity of constantly deploying 
his cavalry against the Russian horse, he dashed forward 
alone toward the line of enemy, and, brandishing his 
sword in the air, cried out, " Retire, you cowards, to 
your own infantry. Begone, your country needs you ! " 
The grandeur of his presence, the regal splendour of his 



264 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

dress, and the daring of this action, so astonished and 
impressed these barbarians, that they fell back in amaze- 
ment before him. 

At Borodino the Russians stood up against the French 
advance. Napoleon rose that morning with his accus- 
tomed spirit and called out to his officers : " We have them 
at last. Forward ! Let us advance to open the gates of 
Moscow." He then rode to a captured redoubt, and, when 
the sun rose, pointed to it and said, " Behold the sun of 
Austerlitz ! " Bu.t it was opposite the French army and 
fell into their eyes with dazzling splendour, while revealing 
the movements of the enemy. 

The battle soon commenced and lasted all day with 
the greatest fury. After Marshal Ney h:,d carried the 
redoubts of the Russians with irresistible fire, Murat was 
ordered forward with the cavalry to coriplete the victory, 
but the second Russian line had rallied, and drove him 
back. At this moment some French regiments mistook 
the horsemen of the dashing, French cavalryman for 
retreating Russians, and fired upon them. At the same 
time, the Cossacks galloped forward, surrounded Murat, 
and were endeavouring to catch hold of him, when 
he threw himself into an intrenchment and thus 
escaped for the time being. There he seized a sword, 
and keeping the Cossacks at bay with one hand, with the 
other raised aloft his well-known, snow-white plume. 
Calling to his men to rescue him, the French cavalry 
soon precipitated itself upon the victorious Russians, with 
such force, that they were driven away and the gallant 
Murat was saved from capture. Marshal Ney reformed 
his division and checked the Cossacks when they made 



JOACHIM MURAT 265 

a second assault, while Murat — placing himself at the 
head of two divisions of cavalry — rushed upon the 
enemy, drove them back upon the centre, and, in an hour, 
had completely broken the Russian, left wing. 

The defeated horde of Russian troops fell back upon 
Moscow, and, as they did so, Murat dashed after them 
with his usual careless recklessness. So impetuous was his 
advance, that, when he overtook the rear guard at Kry- 
mskoie, he attacked with such rashness, that over two 
thousand of his men were killed and disabled. This care- 
less sacrifice of young lives incensed Marshal Mortier to 
such an extent, that he refused toobeyMurat's orders, while 
Davoust — another General — soon afterwards rode to 
find the Emperor, and promised that if he would put him 
in command of the French advance, he would roach the 
enemy and compel him to fight without needlessly :quan- 
dering the lives of the soldiers, as did the iripetuous Murat. 
Napoleon refused to allow such a charge, and extolled 
the daring and impetuosity of the leader of cavalry with 
words of great praise. 

Finally the army came in view of Moscow, and, from 
a high hill, saw the noble city as it lay beneath, glittering 
with a million, different colours as the sun flashed upon 
its gilded roofs and cupolas. The French rushed forward 
in disorder, crying " Moscow ! Moscow ! " while Napoleon 
exclaimed, " It is high time. Here at last is the famous 
city ! " A deputation came out from the town to declare 
that the city would be set on fire if the rear-guard of the 
Russian army were not permitted to leave in peace, and, 
while a conference was in progress with the Emperor, 
Murat was recognized by the Cossacks, who clustered 



266 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

about him, laying hold of his person with their hands, and 
'demonstrating, by their gestures and strange exclamations, 
that they thought highly of his bravery and valour. To 
appease their curiosity the French General took some 
vi^atches from his officers and presented them to the rough 
riders of the plains. 

While negotiations were in progress, a rumour began ■ to 
be circulated among the French that Moscow had been set 
on fire. " Moscow is deserted," said Murat, " let mc enter 
the city before the Russians get away." " Very well, enter 
then," answered Napoleon. " Perhaps these people do 
not know how to surrender," So, the brightly uniformed 
General-of-Cavalry — surrounded by his toughened hus- 
sars and cuirassiers — defiled through the gate of the 
city and clattered along the cobbled streets. Silence and 
solitude rested over all ; not a person was in sight ; and not 
a voice echoed from the deserted houses. Shuddering at 
the ominous quietude, the cavalry dashed through the city ; 
defiled out of the further gate ; and galloped along the road 
to Wlademer, along which the Russians had retreated. 

When Napoleon entered Moscow, he said, " Above 
everything, let there be no pillage. For this you soldiers 
must answer to me with your lives. Preserve Moscow 
against all, both friend and foe ! " But alarming reports 
that fire had broken out in several remote quarters of the 
city soon brought terror to the hearts of all. Napoleon 
remained calm and issued orders to have the flames sub- 
dued, for it became known that the French patrols had 
seized numbers of low Russians — said to have been re- 
leased from prison when the city was abandoned • — who, 
incited by the hope of plunder, ran from place to place 



JOACHIM MURAT 267 

and set fire to all the wooden buildings. " I found several 
of these wretches taken in the act," says the Baron Zaney, 
" lighted matches and combustibles were upon their per- 
sons." By night these incendiaries came from their hiding- 
places and the sight of lurid flames bursting forth in every 
direction was sufficient proof of the presence of these 
mysterious and dreadful creatures. Soon the French were 
encircled by a sea of flames: in vain they attempted to 
stem the fierce conflagration : the Kremlin itself was soon 
alight and all Moscow roared in a sea of crackling fire. 
" The chiefs of the army, overcome with the conflagration," 
says Segur, " after fighting the flames for thirty-six hours, 
dropped down from fatigue and despair." Napoleon, 
himself, passed two days of anguish and dismay, and then 
hastily left the doomed city to its fate. The next day he 
looked towards Moscow, which resembled a vast water- 
spout of flame rising in whirling eddies to the sky, and — 
after a long and gloomy silence — observed, " This fore- 
bodes great misfortunes for our arms. The glory of this 
campaign has been exhausted in the flames of Moscow." 
Murat had charge of the rear-guard in the beginning 
of the retreat, and on October 5th, during an informal 
armistice which was established with the pursuing Rus- 
sians, was constantly flattered by the Cossacks. When 
he would show himself at their advance posts they would 
take great notice of his fine person and their vedettes would 
obey his order. The Cossack Chiefs pretended to be 
his personal friends and it is believed that they made offers 
to him to join them, for Napoleon is said to have exclaimed, 
when reading some letters, " Murat, King of the Cos- 
sacks? What folly!" 



268 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

The King of Naples believed that they were afraid 
to fight against him, but one day a Cossack sentinel 
fired upon him when he showed himself at an advance 
post, and, infuriated at this, the French General declared 
the truce with the Russians at an end. Two days later — ■ 
in a furious engagement — he was so severely handled by 
the wild descendants of Attila, the Hun, that he lost be- 
tween three and four thousand men; twelve pieces of 
artillery; twenty ammunition wagons; had two generals 
killed; and was himself wounded. This completely 
shattered his force, while those that survived this fight 
were so weakened by hunger, that they had not strength 
enough to make a single charge on the now exultant 
Russians. 

Napoleon became aware of a plot against the throne, and 
so left his troops, in order to hasten to Paris, leaving Murat 
in command of the now disorganized Grand Army. But 
the brilliant cavalry leader was not equal to the responsi- 
bilities of the occasion, and, had it not been for the lion- 
hearted Ney, the retreating Frenchmen would have never 
left the plains of Russia. At Wilna the Cossacks made a 
fierce charge upon the disorganized masses of men. " Here 
are the Cossacks ! " cried the frightened refugees, and 
Murat was among the first to seek safety in flight by 
forcing his way through the crowd of fugitives, and fleeing, 
on foot, from the city. At Gumbinnen the French army 
rallied, while Murat assembled the various Generals to 
whom Napoleon had entrusted the command, and said, 
" There is no longer any use in serving such a madman 
as Napoleon, and there is no safety in supporting his 
cause. No monarch in Europe can place any reliance 



JOACHIM MURAT 269 

upon his word, or upon the treaties concluded by him. 
I am in despair because he has rejected the proposals 
of the English, for, had he not done so, he would still be 
a great monarch like the Emperor of Austria and the King 
of Prussia." 

" The King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria," 
interrupted Marshal Davoust, with great indignation, 
" are monarchs by the Grace of God, of time, and the 
custom of nations. But, as for you, you are only a King 
by the grace of Napoleon, and you are by blood a common 
Frenchman. You can only remain King, through the 
good graces of Napoleon, and by continuing your alle- 
giance to France. You are basely ungrateful to him who 
has made you." 

The other Marshals remained silent at this just speech, 
and Murat was so mortified at the exposures which he had 
made, that he left the room immediately. 

When he arrived in Posen, in East Prussia, the gaudily- 
attired cavalryman suddenly resigned from his position 
in the French army and set out for his dominions in Italy. 
Napoleon was stunned and indignant at this act of ingrati- 
tude by the man who had married his sister and whom he 
had created a King. " The King, your husband," he 
wrote to the wife of Murat, " abandoned my army on the 
i6th. He is a brave man upon the field of battle; but he 
is feebler than a woman, or a monk, when not in the pres- 
ence of the enemy. He is destitute of moral courage." 
And shortly afterwards, he dispatched the following, bitter 
words to th;' unojratcful Murat, "I suppose that you 
think the lion is dead. You will find that you are mis- 
taken. You have done me all the mischief that you could 



270 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

since my departure from Wilna. Your elevation to the 
throne of Naples has turned your head and you are now 
useless." 

Later on, when at St. Helena, the Emperor said, " At 
the head of a body of horsemen no man was ever more 
resolute, more courageous or more brilliant than Murat. 
He could make the most of a corps of cavalry. He was 
endowed with extraordinary courage and little intellect. 
There are several men whom I made too great : I raised 
them above the sphere of their intelligence. He is one of 
these." 

Austrians, Russians, and Prussians, eager to attach 
Murat to their cause, endeavoured to get the King of 
Naples to join them against Napoleon. But this he would 
not do, and, after the Emperor had beaten his enemies 
at Liitzen and Bautzen, hastened to offer his services to his 
old commander. Napoleon received him with indulgence 
and again gave him command of the cavalry which he led 
with his old-time fire and enthusiasm in the battle of 
Dresden and Leipsic. At the former Murat was in the 
centre — as usual — and advanced, in the rain, by a cir- 
cuitous movement, appearing with fourteen thousand 
horse upon the flank and rear of the Austrian left-wing. 
This so appalled the enemy, that — after a furious assault 
by Marshal Ney — they retired. But the tables were 
reversed at Leipsic, where Murat commanded the French 
centre, and Napoleon, in turn, was forced to beat such a 
disorganized retreat that soon the Allies had entered Paris 
and the proud and imperious Emperor of the French was 
exiled to the Island of Elba. 

Meanwhile the vacillating Murat had again left the 



JOACHIM MURAT 271 

man who had made him great, and had joined the Aus- 
trians. To his soldiers, he issued a proclamation, which 
ran : "As long as I could believe that the Emperor Na- 
poleon fought for the peace and happiness of France, I 
stood by his side; but that illusion is no longer possible. 
He breathes nothing but war. I should be false to the in- 
terests of my native country, and to my present Kingdom, 
and to yours, if I did not separate my armies from his and 
join these great Allies who respect the independence of 
nations and the dignity of thrones. Soldiers ! There are 
two banners in Europe ; on one is inscribed, ' religion, 
morality, justice, law, peace, and happiness,' on the other 
* persecution, artifice, violence, tyranny, war, and sorrow 
to all people.' That is Napoleon's." 

Of this proclamation Napoleon spoke with great feeling : 
" It is my banner that he calls the banner of crime," he 
said, " and it is Murat, my creature, the husband of my 
sister, the man who owes everything to me, who exists 
by me, and is known through me alone ; it is Murat who 
writes this ! It is impossible to detest the cause of mis- 
fortune with more unfeeling brutality, and to run with 
more unblushing baseness to hail a new destiny." 

In spite of his acts of hostility to Napoleon, Murat was, 
at heart, his devoted admirer and friend. Vain and de- 
sirous of remaining King of Naples, his acts, at this period 
of his life, were controlled by his inordinate desire to per- 
petuate his rule. On hearing of Napoleon's return from 
Elba his head was turned, and, in the political confusion 
that ensued, he endeavoured to establish the independence 
of Italy. Crossing the river Po, with a large army, and 
calling upon the Italians to assert their independence, he 



272 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

had several battles with the Austrians, but was eventually 
defeated, and during the retreat of his men, exhibited that 
reckless bravery for which he was always renowned. By 
continual charges upon the Austrian line he kept the enemy 
in check and sought to end his life by being killed in 
battle; but such was not to be his fate. When at last 
he entered Naples, he appeared before his queen and said, 
" All is lost, madam, but my life, and that I have un- 
fortunately not been able to lose." Tenderly embracing 
her, he bade farewell to his children ; had his hair cut short ; 
and donning an old, gray suit ; secretly made his way to the 
seashore and embarked in a small boat for France. Land- 
ing upon the south coast, he sent word to Napoleon that 
he wished to join him in his campaign of Waterloo. " What 
treaty of peace has been concluded between France and 
Naples since 1814," Napoleon coldly replied, and so poor 
Murat hid himself, in haste, to avoid recognition by the 
country people. 

Speaking of Murat, at this time, Napoleon wrote after- 
wards, at St. Helena, " I should have taken him with me 
to Waterloo, but such was the patriotic and moral feeling 
of the French army (who looked upon his refusal to join 
me after Leipsic, in 1814, as the cause of their subsequent 
disaster) that it is doubtful whether the troops could 
surmount the horror and disgust which they felt for the 
man who had lost and destroyed France. I did not con- 
sider myself sufficiently powerful to protect him. Yet he 
might have enabled me to gain the victoryo How useful 
he would have been at certain periods of the battle of 
Waterloo ! He would have broken three or four English 
squares, for Murat was admirable for such service as 
this. He was precisely the man for it." 



JOACHIM MURAT 273 

Thus the unfortunate Frenchman was compelled to 
settle down near Toulon and await the events of Na- 
poleon's last campaign, while living unostentatiously with 
a small suite. When the news of the disaster at Waterloo 
came, and of the flight of Napoleon, a reward of sixteen 
hundred dollars was ofl"ered by the Royalists for the cap- 
ture of the Emperor's old leader of cavalry; so Murat 
separated from his followers and went into hiding. For 
many days he wandered alone, — half starved, — ^in con- 
stant fear of capture and assassination. When crouching, 
one day, behind some shrubs in a garden, he saw a party 
of his pursuers search a house, where, but a few moments 
before, he had been entertained by the owners. Faithful 
friends repeatedly aided him, and, as he had a small 
amount of money, he eventually was able to escape to 
Corsica in a small boat. 

The once-powerful King of Naples was now weary 
with wandering and embittered with the humiliation of his 
position. He also feared a violent death, for the Congress 
of Vienna had declared Napoleon a public enemy and 
liable to public vengeance. But such was Murat's love 
for his departed power that he decided to organize an 
armed force for the purpose of again invading the soil of 
Italy and replacing himself upon the throne. He was, 
no doubt, stimulated by the example of Napoleon's suc- 
cessful return from Elba, six months before, and hoped 
to duplicate his triumphant entry in Paris. In a very few 
days a force of between two and three hundred men was 
assembled. " I will not give up my Kingdom," said Murat. 
" At the most I shall die a King." 

Departing from Corsica in some small vessels, the vain-= 



274 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

glorious Frenchman landed on the shores of Italy, after a 
stormy passage, in which his own vessel was nearly cap- 
sized. It was Sunday morning when he marched into the 
market-place of the little town of Pizo, and a large con- 
course of people were assembled in their holiday clothes. 
As Napoleon's former cavalryman passed them, he began 
calling out : "I am Joachim; I am your KLing; you ought 
to recognize me." But, instead of welcoming him with 
huzzas of greeting, the peasants began to leave the market- 
place and enter their houses. 

The party of soldiers now marched towards Monteleone, 
while a crowd followed them from the little village which 
they had just quitted, and vigorously assailed Murat's 
followers with sticks and stones. Finally a pistol was 
fired, and, at this, the Corsican soldiers, composing IMurat's 
army, took to their heels and scattered to the right and left. 
Murat and two others escaped to a beach, near-by, and 
there espied a fisherman's boat hauled high up on the 
sand. To this they ran and desperately struggled to drag 
it into the water. Their pursuers closed in as they did so, 
while the fugitives — seeing that all was lost — drew their 
swords and pistols. One of Murat's companions was shot 
dead ; the other was soon overpowered and knocked life- 
less upon the sand. The deposed Monarch was seized; 
pulled from hand to hand in the midst of the howling 
crowd; his arms, ornaments and clothes were wrenched 
from him; his face and body were begrimed with blood 
and sand, as his hair was torn from his head by the fist- 
full. Finally he was carried off to prison, while the news 
of his capture was instantly dispatched to Naples, where 
Ferdinand the Fourth had ascended the throne of his 
fathers 



JOACHIM MURAT 275 

A court-martial was assembled, composed of seven 
officers who had served m Murat's army, who listened to 
a few remarks by the officer who conducted the defence, 
and sentenced the former King of their country to be im- 
mediately shot in the courtyard of the castle. At about 
four in the afternoon a parting letter was written to his 
wife and children, and, after absolution had been received 
by a priest, Murat remarked, " Let us go and accomplish 
the will of God." 

At the foot of the steps which led to his cell had been 
placed a chair, and, in a narrow, little area in front of it 
stood the firing party. The space was so cramped that 
the twelve men who composed it were placed in three 
ranks. As the prisoner faced them he refused to sit in the 
chair. In his left hand he held a miniature of his wife and 
children, and with clearness and deliberation ordered 
the soldiers to prepare to fire. He then remarked, with 
a firm voice, " Spare my face, aim at the heart," and as 
the muskets of the soldiers nearly touched his breast, he 
endeavoured to draw one towards it. " Fire ! " he cried. 
As the triggers were pulled the brave warrior's body re- 
mained erect for a moment, then sank, and his forehead 
struck the door of the cell in which his comrades were im- 
prisoned. 

Thus Joachim Murat came to an ignominious end. He 
was a w^arrior, who, as a leader of cavalry, had few equals. 
As a man, his keen sense for personal advancement often 
turned to craftiness and deceit. As a cavalry officer his 
boldness was often rashness. He was one of the most 
notable soldiers of an epoch of great military activity and 
achievement, and died at the early age of forty-nine. When 



276 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

the news of his death came to the ears of Napoleon (exiled 
at St. Helena) he showed Uttle sympathy for the man who 
had so treacherously deserted him in the time of his 
greatest need. " Murat," said the Emperor, " was doomed 
to be our bane- He ruined us by forsaking us and he 
ruined us by too warmly espousing our cause. His un- 
fortunate end corresponds to his conduct. He deserved 
such a miserable finals to his career." 




MAJOR-GENERAL J. E. B. STUART 



t::i: :.^'7 york 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



n -C^. Ltf'OX AND 
TILDEN FOUImDATIONS. 
C 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 

THE greatest leader of Southern cavalry during 
the war between the Northern and Southern 
States in America, was General James Ewell 
Brown Stuart, familiarly known as Jeb. He possessed all 
the qualities which make the true leader of cavalry. He 
was a man of the most winning personality. He was 
courteous ; affectionate ; kind ; yet he possessed courage ; 
dash; and a great fighting spirit. He was physically 
strong, fearless, and bold. He had the fire and imagination 
that is essential to the leader of light horse, and a sufficient 
amount of caution to make him respected by more con- 
servative leaders of the Confederacy. Blessed with a 
cheerfulness which no reverse could dampen, he stands 
forth in the history of that great war as one's true idea of 
a hero. Beloved by all his followers and by the people of 
the South, his death, at the early age of thirty-one, was a 
blow to the Confederate cavalry service from which it never 
recovered. 

As a matter of history, the infantry of both the Northern 
and Southern armies was never on very friendly terms with 
the cavalry. There was always a certain amount of feeling 
between the dashing cavalrymen and the plodding dough- 
boys, as the infantrymen were called. The foot-soldiers 
thought that there was a great deal of swagger and bluster 
277 



278 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

about the cavalry and that this branch of the service never 
really accomplished much. Those on horseback thought 
that all the true fighting was done by them, and that the 
infantrymen were a lot of good-for-nothings. 

One day a member of Stuart's brigade was stopped by 
a foot-soldier near the General's headquarters. 

" Say, Mister," he said, " did you ever see a Yankee? " 

" Yes," answered the cavalryman, rather sharply. 

" Well," remarked the infantryman, '' I thought you 
never had. Never heard of the cavalry ever killing or 
catching one. Say, Mister, did he have on a blue coat ? " 

" Yes," answered the Dragoon, showing some signs 
of wrath. 

" Did you stop and look at him. Mister? " 

" Yes, I had a good look," 

" Well," said the dough-boy, " Please ter tell me, Mister, 
if your boss wuz lame or your spurs wuz broke ? " 

This remark was greeted by a roar of laughter from 
General Stuart, who was standing in front of his tent, for, 
if any one dearly loved a joke, it was he. Let us look at 
this genial commander of cavalry and see what kind of a 
man he was. 

Clad in a neat, gray uniform, with black boots extending 
to the knees, stood a youthful man of about twenty-seven 
years of age. His height was about five feet eleven inches ; 
his body short ; and his legs and arms rather longer than 
they should have been in order to make him of perfect pro- 
portions. Upon his head was a great, broad, felt hat turned 
rakishly up on one side. An ostrich plume waved carelessly 
from the top. Beneath was a bronzed and weather- 
beaten countenance. A luxuriant, brown beard and 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 279 

moustache covered the lower portion of his face. His nose 
was long and well-shaped, his eyes sparkling with the 
lustre of perfect health. At times, their colour was a calm, 
bluish gray. At others they were as black as a thunder 
cloud, and again, as blue as the skies upon a clear, May 
morning. The sound of a distant bugle or the crack of 
a shot was only needed to light them up in a sparkle of 
briUiant light. 

Upon the heels of his tall, hip boots were silver spurs. 
A brightly polished sword hung from his belt. In his but- 
ton-hole was a bouquet of flowers, while a pair of long, 
white gaunlet-gloves were stuffed into the yellow sash 
wound around his waist. Upon first view you would say 
that this fellow was a dandy. You would have criticized 
him in very much the same way that General Custer 
was criticized. You would remark, perhaps, that he was 
a tin-soldier, — a fellow who loved to dress gaily but who 
had no stomach for a fight. But here you would be wrong. 
No one respected his fighting qualities more than did 
Sheridan, Custer, Merritt, Pleasanton and Buford : the 
leaders of the Federal horse. They knew how vigorously 
he watched the Confederate line. They knew how difficult 
it was to surprise the Southern army, with Stuart's troopers 
on the outposts, and they christened him Stuart, the 
Yellow- Jacket, for his perpetual movements and aggressive 
attacks, stung them like an insect and irritated them be- 
yond measure. 

The character of General Stuart was essentially joyous, 
yet he had sufficient gravity when the occasion demanded 
a show of quiet dignity and it was only when severely 
engaged in battle that he was not continually laughing and 



280 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

joking. Sometimes, after hours of application to the 
duties of his office, — where Stuart would be as sober as a 
Judge, — he would call his adjutant from his desk and de- 
mand that he should join him in a game of marbles. Not 
many moments afterwards, the great leader of cavalry 
would be down upon his knees, calling out, " Knuckle down 
there, fen everything," and roaring with laughter when 
he failed to hit his opponent's men. In half an hour he 
would be back again to serious labour. 

Continually with the General in camp and in bivouac 
was a negro, banjo player. The day's work was no sooner 
done than gay music brightened the closing hours of the 
day. No one was more fond of song than General Stuart, 
and frequently he would rouse the whole camp by a mid- 
night serenade. He sang even when in the heart of battle, 
and, so seductive was this cheerfulness, that General 
Longstreet ordered him away from his camp, saying, 
that he made the cavalryman's life seem so attractive that 
his infantrymen wanted to desert and to " jine the cavalry." 

This cheerfulness had a wonderful effect upon his men. 
Oftentimes, when the line would be broken, and the soldiers 
would be beaten back, Stuart would appear in the nick 
of time with needed reinforcements. His cheery voice, 
telling his troopers to let anything happen rather than 
allow themselves to be beaten, would spur them to renewed 
activity. The mere presence of their joyous leader would 
relieve their minds of anxiety for the future as they were 
always certain that he looked upon the bright and cheerful 
side of life and that he would sing and laugh all the louder, 
if they should win. They would fight doubly hard unde/ 
such a General, for they loved him. 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 281 

This great cavalryman was of a Scotch family and de- 
scended from a clan of some mark in the history of English 
and Scottish warfare. Truly, no one more resembled the 
gay Cavaliers who followed the banner of King Charles 
against rough Oliver Cromwell, than did the Confederate 
General, who was born on the 6th of February, 1833, in 
Patrick County, Virginia, Through five generations his 
ancestry can be traced to x\rchibald Stuart, a native of 
Londonderry, Ireland, but of Scotch- Presbyterian parent- 
age, who was compelled to come to America on account 
of religious persecution. This refugee lived in Pennsyl- 
vania for some years, but removed to Virginia, where he 
acquired large, landed estates. His second son fought 
in the American Revolution and was captured by the 
British at the battle of Guilford Court House. His grand- 
son, a lawyer, and the father of Jeb Stuart, — was a power- 
ful orator and advocate who possessed great wit and a rare 
gift for song. These characteristics were inherited by his 
son : the seventh and youngest child of a large family. 

The youth of General Stuart was spent at the old home- 
stead, close to the North Carolina line, in a beautiful, moun- 
tainous district. At fourteen he attended school, and in 
September of the same year entered Emory and Henry 
College in Washington County, Virginia. When seventeen 
years of age he was appointed a cadet at West Point, where 
he made a splendid record, for he held nearly all the cadet 
offices up to the rank of Cavalry Sergeant and Second 
Captain, and at graduation was thirteenth in a class of 
forty-two. Not long after this he received a commission as 
Second Lieutenant in a Texas Regiment of Mounted 
Rifles, and was moved to Fort Leavenworth, in Kansas, 



282 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

where he was appointed Regimental Quartermaster and 
Commissary; a position in which he saw his first active 
service among the hostile savages who barred the advance 
of Western civilization. 

The Apache Indians had met the advance of the white 
settlers into their hunting grounds with a vindictive 
and savage spirit. We can hardly blame the poor savage, 
who loved the wild, free life of the prairie, for hating the 
whites who came to take up farms upon the grazing ground 
of the buffalo. Yet the settlers had to be protected against 
these Indian depredations, for the savages not only drove 
off their horses and cattle, but murdered fathers, mothers, 
and little children. Stuart's command was ordered out 
to punish them for their cruel and relendess warfare against 
the peaceable whites, and so, in September and October, 
of that year, the troops from the fort did much marching 
and counter-marching in the endeavour to capture the 
Indians, But it was of no avail, as the Apaches eluded 
the slow-moving column of blue-coats and made off to the 
country in the West, after inflicting severe damage on the 
outlying ranches. When winter came on, the attempt to 
capture the Indians was given up and the soldiers returned 
to their barracks. 

During the winter Lieutenant Stuart was married to the 
daughter of Colonel Philip St. George Cook, who com- 
manded Fort Riley : the nearest post to Fort Leavenworth. 
In the Spring he was promoted to First Lieutenant and 
was soon engaged in quelling other disturbances besides 
those which came from the Cheyennes and the Apaches, 
for, at this time the settlers of Kansas were having a great 
number of disputes ; as it was then undetermined whether 



JEB STUART: CAV.\LIER 283 

or not Kansas should be a free or slave State. The settlers 
who came from the North were at dagger's point with 
those who came from the Southern, slave-holding states, and 
blood-shed was only averted by the presence of the govern- 
ment troops. Amid these stirring scenes, Stuart made 
the acquaintance of " Osawatomie Brown," known 
afterwards as John Brown of Harper's Ferry, and thus was 
subsequently able to identify him when he and his followers 
had barricaded themselves in the engine house in Western 
Virginia. 

Two years after his marriage, Stuart's regiment was 
again ordered to punish the Indians, who were growing 
more and more bold in their attacks on the frontier. The 
campaign opened in the early summer, and, after scouting 
in every direction, at last the Indian trail was discovered. 
Following upon the heels of the savages, the United States 
troops came upon them on the north fork of the Solomon 
River in Kansas, where there were about three hundred 
Cheyenne warriors in all, while the Government force 
consisted of six companies of the First Cavalry, under 
General Sumner. The Indians were vigorously attacked, 
and, after making an attempt to stand, they fled as fast 
as their ponies would carry them. 

Stuart pursued a small band for five miles, and, when he 
finally caught the Cheyennes, one of his men — who was 
rather reckless — was about to be shot by a dismounted 
warrior. The young Lieutenant rushed at the Indian, as 
he crouched behind a tuft of sage-brush, and succeeded in 
cutting him with his sabre in the thigh. The Cheyenne fired 
at him with a revolver, but missed. One of the troopers now 
rode up, and dismounting, said, " Wait, I'll fetch him." 



284 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

But unfortunately his rashness nearly cost him his life, for 
he found that he had no ammunition. The Indian advanced 
towards this new and crippled enemy, raising his revolver 
as he did so, while Stuart rushed to the rescue. With his 
sword he cut the savage in the head, but, at the same 
moment the Indian fired his revolver. The ball hit the 
young officer in the breast, and, as luck would have it, 
glanced to the left and lodged near the surface of the skin 
without inflicting a mortal wound. 

Colonel Sumner now pursued the retreating Indians 
southward and left the wounded men behind in a tem- 
porary fortification, garrisoned by one company of infantry. 
The force which was so disposed of was a little less than 
a hundred miles from Fort Kearney, and, as soon as the 
wounded were sufficiently recovered to be moved ; Stuart 
— who was in charge — determined to return to the 
friendly shelter of the barracks. His wound had healed 
sufficiently for him to ride a horse when the detachment 
headed in the direction in which Fort Kearney was thought 
to be. For five days the little command travelled across 
the alkali plains, suffering much from heat and thirst, — • 
and then suffered a real misfortune, for the Pawnee guides 
deserted. The soldiers were now completely lost, for there 
was no compass in the party and no one knew in exactly 
which direction the fort lay. It was a trying time for the 
men, so trying, that some of the wounded gave up all hope ; 
while a few even seated themselves on the ground and 
refused to go farther. But Stuart's joyous nature would 
not be overcome by this dilemma and he determined to 
press forward with a chosen number of the braver spirits. 
So, leaving the command near a water course (where the 



JEB STUART: CAVALTER 285 

despairing men could be sure of having a sufficient supply 
of liquid) he pushed on to gain relief, and for two days 
wandered upon the plains without the trace of either trail 
or wagon road. Finally, on the third day, he stumbled 
upon the mail route between Fort Leavenworth and Fort 
Phil Kearney, and with great joy and enthusiasm the little 
band galloped along the wagon ruts of the overland stage- 
coach. After a journey of lifty-five miles, in which he 
suffered greatly from his recent wound, Stuart rode into 
Fort Kearney, whence food and medicine were speedily 
dispatched to the little band, left behind. In this Indian 
campaign the immature Lieutenant had exhibited those 
traits of fortitude and cheerfulness that were to make such 
a successful leader in the impending Civil War. 

No more important skirmishes with the Indians occurred 
during the next three years, and Stuart was comparatively 
free from hard duty until 1859. He was at that time in the 
city of Washington when news was received that John 
Brown had raided Harper's Ferry with a small force of 
armed men, and was endeavouring to stir up a revolution 
to free the slaves. Directly opposite Washington — ■ at 
Arlington, Virginia — lived an officer in the United States 
Army, Lieutenant- Colonel Robert E. Lee, to whom 
Stuart was directed to take a secret communication, for he 
had been selected to command a detachment of marines 
sent to put down the insurrection and to capture Oswa- 
tomie Brown. As soon as the young Lieutenant saw that 
there was to be trouble, he volunteered his aid, and was 
allowed to accompany the expedition. 

John Brown's entire army consisted of seventeen white 
men and five or six negroes with whom he had begun this 



286 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

war, in the hope that he would soon be joined by others. 
After tearing up the railroad track and cutting the telegraph 
wires, his men marched through Harper's Ferry and freed all 
the slaves held by the men of wealth in the community. The 
inhabitants were soon completely in his power and he had 
taken fifty or sixty prisoners. When Colonel Lee arrived, 
Brown and his men retreated to an engine house, where 
they barricaded themselves. Lieutenant Stuart was sent 
to the door of the building, next morning, in order to 
parley with the leader of the band. Finding that Brown 
would not yield, the marines seized a ladder, with which 
they smashed the door to pieces ; rushed into the opening ; 
and all was over with John Brown and his raiders. 

This was the first step in the agitation for the freedom 
of the slaves, which culminated in the secession of North 
Carolina in 1861. The great Civil War was begun with 
this event, but, at the opening of hostilities, Stuart was far 
from the scene of action as he was engaged in building 
a fortification in the West when notified of the condition 
of affairs in the South. Immediately resigning from the 
service of the United States, he hastened to Virginia, where 
he offered his sword in defence of the State. On May 7th, 
1 86 1, his resignation as an officer in the United States 
service, was accepted. He was immediately appointed 
to a Lieutenant Colonelship of Infantry, and later, was 
made Colonel of Cavalry. On the 24th of September, 1861, 
he was created Brigadier- General-of-Cavalry, and in the 
year following — when only twenty-nine years of age — 
was commissioned Major- General of all the cavalry in 
the army of Northern Virginia. 

Soon his cavalry had become a very efficient body of 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 287 

men, and for two years of warfare, the Southern horse 
were infinitely superior to the Union cavalry in esprit- 
de-corps and fighting quahties. It was only after lack of 
recruits and fresh horses began to cripple the Virginian 
rangers that the well-filled ranks of the Northern cavalry 
regiments, began to overwhelm them with their numerical 
superiority and aggressive movements. For a long time, 
the Yellow Jackets of Jeb Stuart had everything their own 
way. 

At Bull Run (the first battle of the war, which resulted 
in such a disastrous rout for the Federal army) Stuart's 
command did excellent service. On the day of the battle, 
the Union troops attacked the left wing of the Confederate 
army and had doubled it back, when the tide of battle 
suddenly changed in favour of the Confederates, The 
New York Fire Zouaves were charging up a hill to take 
the position from the Confederates, when some fresh 
troops fell upon their right flank. As they threw them 
into confusion, Stuart made a charge with his cavalry. 
The Union troops broke and fled across Bull Run in the 
direction of Washington, while the young cavalryman 
urged his men in the pursuit. The soldiers in gray galloped 
among the fugitives, causing the greatest fear and conster- 
nation, for there had been rumours in the Northern army 
of the bloodthirsty qualities of the Black Horse. When 
this terrible cavalry did charge, the cry was heard from 
man to man, that the dreaded Black Horse was among 
them, and this added terror to their already terrified 
imaginations. The rout became a stampede. Many were 
sabred as they tried to get away; and it was only when 
Centreville was reached — half way to Washington — 



288 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

that the Black Horse desisted in following up the fugitives. 
Hundreds of prisoners were taken by Stuart's men during 
this vainglorious retreat, and Stuart, himself, was highly 
complimented by General Beaureguard — in command of 
the Southern army — who said, "He secured us infor- 
mation of the utmost importance, and his services in pur- 
suit of the enemy were most commendable." 

After this first battle of the war, the Union forces were 
put in charge of General George B. McCleJlan, who 
drilled them in Washington, during the winter, in prepara- 
tion for offensive movements against Richmond in the 
Spring. The Union troops were then transported to the 
peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean just below 
the Confederate Capital, and were disembarked, and from 
this point, began to march against the city. Stuart's force 
had been posted at Fairfax Court House — about thirty 
miles below Washington — during the winter, and, in 
March, he was ordered to the Peninsula, to repel the 
advance of McClellan. At Yorktown — where Cornwallis 
had surrendered during the Revolution — there was a 
sharp fight. The Confederates retreated to Williamsburg, 
and here, General Stuart had command of the Rear Guard. 

In spite of the opposition, McClellan pushed his army 
well towards the Confederate Capital, and, by the eleventh 
of June, was almost in sight of the spires of Richmond. 
It was now important to General Lee — who had com- 
mand of the Southern army — to know the exact positions 
of this advancing host, for if he could only find out where 
the different Northern regiments and batteries were placed, 
he could make an attack on the weakest portion of Mc- 
Clellan's line and stand an excellent chance of defeating 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 289 

him. So, in order to gather information of the strength 
and arrangement of the Union forces, General Stuart 
was ordered to ride around to McClellan's rear, on a scout. 
In a letter from General Lee to him, the Confederate 
Commander-in-Chief thus outlines the plan of action, 
" You are desired to make a scout movement, to the 
rear of the enemy now posted on the Chickahominy 
River, with a view of gaining intelligence of his operations, 
communications, etc., of driving in his foraging par- 
ties, and securing such grain and catde for ourselves 
as you can make arrangements to have driven in. Another 
object is to destroy his wagon trains said to be daily passing 
from the Piping-Tree road to his camp on the Chicka- 
hominy. The utmost vigilance on your part will be 
necessary to prevent any surprise to yourself, and the 
greatest caution must be practised in keeping well in your 
front and flanks, reliable scouts to give you information. 
You will return as soon as the object of your expedition 
is accompUshed, and you must bear in mind, while en- 
deavouring to execute the general purpose of your mission, 
not to hazard unnecessarily your command. Be content 
to accomplish all the good you can without feeling it 
necessary to obtain all that might be desired." 

These were very definite instructions, and Stuart carried 
them out in a splendid way. He not only found out all that 
Lee had desired, but he created great consternation in the 
Union ranks. He not only rode to the rear of the Union 
army, but he rode completely around McClellan. It was 
a feat that has seldom been equalled in campaigns between 
troops of civilized nations and it inspired his men with great 
respect for his daring. It marked him immediately as one 



290 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

of the most dashing and resourceful of cavalry leaders, and 
filled the Union troops with a certain fear, as it was one of 
the most picturesque and exciting rides in the history of 
military affairs. 

On June 13th, Stuart moved away from the Confederate 
army and took a northerly route. General Stonewall 
Jackson was at that time near the Shenandoah Valley, 
far to the West of Richmond, and Stuart wished to give 
the impression that he was going to reinforce him. The 
troops for this hazardous scout, consisted of twelve 
hundred men, commanded by Colonel Fitzhugh Lee, 
Colonel W. H. F. Lee, and Colonel W. T. Martin, to which 
one battery of flying horse-artillery was attached. With 
scouts on the right, videttes in advance, and guards in the 
rear, the Confederate band marched twenty-two miles 
to a bridge over the South Anna River. Every precaution 
was taken against surprise as the soldiers quietly went into 
bivouac at the edge of some deep woods. At sunrise — 
without giving the usual bugle call — the cavalrymen 
mounted, and turning towards McClellan's army, in a 
southeasterly direction, went towards a small village 
called Old Church. Signal rockets were fired in the early 
gray of the dawn, which were seen and answered by the 
Confederate troops, far in the rear. 

Now there was need of the greatest precaution, for Stu- 
art's raiders were within the lines of the Union army. 
Suddenly the advance videttes rode upon some of the 
enemy's outposts of horse pickets, two of which were cap- 
tured and secured, while the rest galloped off to report 
to the Union Commander. After bringing the captives 
into camp it was discovered that a large force of Federals 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 291 

would soon be along on its way to get forage, and, as it 
was possible to capture the entire body, the Confederate 
troops were hidden in the woods on either side of the road. 
But, in a few moments, they were discovered by another 
Union soldier in advance of a considerable number of 
cavalrymen, and seeing that it was useless to attempt an 
ambuscade, the Confederate cavalry charged. Down 
the road they went towards Hanover Court House, for the 
Union horsemen took to their heels and plunged into some 
reinforcements of the Fifth regular cavalry, drawn up in 
good order across the road. The leader of these, elo- 
quently cheered on his troops, and called to them to repel 
the advancing Confederates, but, it was of no avail. 
Flanking the Union position. Colonel Fitz Lee made a 
detour to cut off the retreat of this force, while it was 
charged in front by another detachment of Virginia Light 
Horse. The cavalrymen in blue, broke and fled precipi- 
tously, and, as their camps were near-by, it was not long 
before the tents, wagons, and supplies were in flames. 
The raiders moved forward with a light heart. More 
wagons were seized and burned ; commissary stores 
were captured and destroyed ; and by the time Stuart had 
reached Tunstall's Station, over a million dollars' worth 
of Federal property had been made away with. 

As the victorious troopers scattered hither and thither; 
collecting valuable horses and cattle; making prisoners; 
and setting fire to stone houses; a train was heard ap- 
proaching. Soon the whistle of the engine sounded, and 
immediately every Confederate cavalryman was ranged 
beside the track, fully prepared to make a splendid cap- 
ture. Some even placed heavy logs across the rails in 



292 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

order to stop the advance of the engine, which began to 
slow down, because the engineer thought that these were 
Union troops. The brakes were appUed, and the cars 
were moving very slowly, when the Confederates suddenly 
opened fire upon the empty box-cars attached to the loco- 
motive, and filled with soldiers for McClellan's army. 
Seeing his error, the engineer now crowded on steam and 
started the train at full speed. Many of the Union troops 
were shot down, while he himself fell to the floor of his 
engine-house, with a desperate wound, just as the cars 
collided with the fallen logs and pushed them aside. 
When the train pulled away, the Confederates gave a 
cheer for the bravery of the dying engineer, for he has res- 
cued his charges from their hands and paid for his bravery 
with his life's blood. 

The railroad bridge at Tunstall's was next destroyed, 
while a great quantity of provisions and many wagons were 
set on fire by Stuart's orders near White House, on the 
Pamunkey River, — the Union base of supplies. A 
detachment had been sent to destroy and capture whatever 
could be found at this point. Four large army transports 
were moored here in the river, and a wagon-yard of several 
hundred wagons was upon the south bank of the Pamunkey. 
One transport escaped and floated down the stream, but 
the other three, with their contents, — valuable quarter- 
master's supplies, army clothing, grain, fruits, and sutler's 
stores, — were soon put to the torch. The wagons were 
likewise set on fire, and many prisoners were captured and 
taken along on Union army horses, to fill the dungeons 
in Libby prison. 

It was now time to take a rest, so Stuart halted the 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 293 

troopers at New Kent Court House, where the General had 
a conference with his commanders about their further 
movements, for they were directly behind the Union army, 
and in a hazardous position. Stuart had done all that 
General Lee wished him to do. He had found out where 
the different detachments of McClellan's army were 
encamped and how far the right flank extended, but, it 
must be decided how they would return from this dangerous 
predicament in which they now found themselves. In order 
to go back by the way in which they had come, the Confeder- 
ates would have to pass Hanover Court House. The Confed- 
erate leader knew that a strong force of cavalry was nearby, 
and that those whom he had defeated in the morning, would 
be strongly reinforced. The South Anna River was to the 
right of this position, which was difificult to ford as it was 
swollen by heavy rains. Should he retrace his steps he 
would have to fight his way through fresh troops, greatly 
exasperated by his success and infuriated by the losses 
which he had caused them, so with very little hesitation 
he decided to pass entirely around the Union army ; trust- 
ing that he could cross the Chickahominy River below 
McClellan's left flank, before troops could be sent to cui 
him off. In a brief interview with his officers he disclosed 
these plans, and was assured by all that they would gi\ • ■ 
him their hearty support in everything which he did. 

At New Kent was an extensive Sutler's establishment. 
A Sutler supplies the army with good things to eat, — extras, 
which the officers and men pay for from their wages. 
Here were clothes of every kind, sabres, pistols, preserves, 
shoes, wines, liquors, cigars and a host of things which 
made the eyes of the Confederate troopers sparkle with 



294 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

delight. As a cavalryman rode up, the well-fed proprietor 
was lounging in front, talking to several Union stragglers. 

" Give me that ere pair of shoes," said the cavalryman. 

" All right," answered the Sutler, taking them down 
from a hook and handing them to him. " Five dollars, 
please." 

The Confederate dismounted very slowly, relieved his 
feet of an old battered pair of brogans, and put on the new 
boots. 

" I reckon not, pardner," he said, mounting his horse. 

" I'll report you to General McClellan," yelled the 
Sutler, furious with rage. 

" All right, mister," the trooper answered. " Mc- 
Clellan's got nothing to do with me." 

Just then some of the boys in gray rode up and the poor 
Sutler discovered that he was in the hands of the enemy. 
When he demanded pay, he was greeted with roars of 
laughter. The Soldiers opened his champagne ; smoked 
his cigars; appropriated new clothes, boots and shoes. 
When they left for the Chickahominy the sleek Sutler 
was well nigh beside himself with mortification and rage. 

At midnight the command marched steadily onward to 
the Chickahominy. Aided by the light of the moon, the 
troops made excellent progress, and, by daylight, the river 
had been reached. But the recent rains had swollen the 
peaceful stream until it was a torrent. Here was a dilemma 
indeed ! In the rear were the infuriated Federals, now 
hot upon the heels of the raider. In the front was a rush- 
ing, foaming river. But the men were equal to the emer- 
gency. Down they leaped from their worn-out horses and 
soon had felled a number of trees, by means of which a 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 295 

rude bridge was thrown over the flood to the other bank, 
constructed on the remains of an old, worn-out trestle. 

For two hours the men worked furiously, Stuart in their 
midst, singing songs, and cheering them to their utmost 
exertion. At last the artillery could be drawn across and 
so the column passed to the other bank. As the last man 
came safely over and applied the torch to the bridge, the 
advance guard of a large force of Union cavalry appeared 
on the opposite bank. A shout of triumph was discharged 
in the direction of McClellan's troopers and Stuart's men 
rode briskly to their own lines, thus ending one of the 
most brilliant raids m history. 

With the dashing General were one hundred and sixty- 
five prisoners and two hundred and sixty captured mules 
and horses. Only one follower had been killed and but 
one loss of equipment had been sustained : a broken limber- 
chest of the flying battery. ■ For sixty hours the troopers 
had marched continuously, and it was with well-merited 
feelings of delight that the raiders galloped along the 
turn-pike that led through Charles City and into their own 
lines, where they were greeted with great demonstrations 
of joy and appreciation by the Southern soldiers. 

Within a very few days Lee was joined by Stonewall 
Jackson's corps, and as Stuart had found the weak spot 
in the Union Army, which was the right flank, Lee ordered 
Jackson to fall upon this portion of McClellan's line. 
On the 27th Jackson attacked. The battle fought here, 
at Mechanicsville, was the first of seven days of bloodshed, 
in which the Union army was driven to the James River, 
badly defeated and with lost confidence in their com- 
mander. Thus the influence of Stuart's raid had a two- 



296 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

fold effect : it gave the Confederates a confidence in their 
leaders and it made it possible for them to cripple the 
advancing forces. It also weakened the Union soldiers' 
respect for their own Commander-in-Chief. 

The fighting in Virginia now shifted from the Peninsula 
to the Rapidan River, about sixty miles below Washing- 
ton in Central Virginia. General Pope, in command of an 
army, entirely separate from the army of General McClel- 
lan, was camped near Cedar Mountain, where Stonewall 
Jackson and Longstrcet fell upon him and drove him across 
the Rappahannock River. General Lee hastened forward 
from Richmond to reinforce the victorious Confederates, 
while General Stuart decided to make another daring raid 
to the rear of the Union Army. Selecting a dark night, to 
cloak the movements of his men, he crossed the river far 
above the Union camp and fell upon Catlctt's Station, on 
the railroad behind the Northern troops. 

It was now most important to find out what disposition 
had been made of the Union force, as in front of the Con- 
federates were hundreds of camp fires, around which the 
Union soldiers were laughing and talking, preparing for a 
night of fancied repose. In order to do this Stuart's men 
occupied the roads and soon caught enough passers-by 
to learn what was before them. The captives thought, 
at first, that these were their own men, and asked what 
right the pickets had to arrest them, but when the officers 
whispered that the terrible " Jeb " Stuart was near-by, 
the frightened soldiers soon ceased to make an outcry 
and gave all the information that was desired. One 
portion of Stuart's command was immediately directed 
to obstruct the railroad track; one to cut the telegraph 



JEB STUART o CAVALIER 297 

wires ; and one to burn the bridge. All was soon ready, 
and, when a shrill whistle sounded, the troopers rushed 
upon the unsuspecting, Union soldiers. The night was 
perfectly dark, the only light upon the scene being from 
the smouldering blaze of the fires and from the flicker of 
candles in the tents. A terrific yell arose, as the squadrons 
galloped to the attack, which was followed by the rattle 
of pistol shots and the occasional report of a musket as 
some Union soldier picked up his weapon from the ground 
and fired. 

Stuart's cavalry immediately began to make prisoners 
and to destroy all that could not be safely taken away. 
Pope's baggage train was a particular prize. They 
burned his private ambulance, all his personal belongings, 
and captured much valuable correspondence. Four, fme, 
white mules for the General's personal use, were appro- 
priated, and also some papers, giving the exact strength 
and disposition of the Union army. The Quartermaster 
was captured and his commissary safes were broken into. 
Many hundreds of dollars, intended to pay the northern 
soldiers, were divided among the Southern cavalrymen, 
while three hundred and ninety prisoners; all of Pope's 
staff horses ; and fully one hundred and fifty more, were 
captured. From the Confederate view-point the attack 
had been a splendid success. 

After the charge was over, and, as Stuart made his way 
back to the river, a terrible rainstorm came up. The 
wind blew, the rain fell in torrents, the thunder pealed as 
loud as the guns of a battery. It was so dark that the 
troopers could see only two or three feet before them and 
so remained on their horses throughout the night, re- 



298 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

treating to the Rappahannock at the first flush of dawn. 
They soon crossed and were back again with Lee, Long- 
street, and Jackson, bringing such valuable information 
with them that it was now possible to advance against Pope 
and completely outwit him. It was another feather in the 
cap of Jeb Stuart, and it made him more beloved and re- 
spected by his own men, than ever before. 

A few days later, Stonewall Jackson was sent around to 
the rear of Pope's army. He placed himself between his 
adversary and Washington, making a wide detour through 
Thoroughfare Gap, in order to do so. Pope retreated to 
Gainsville — just below the battlefield of First Bull Run — 
and there unsuccessfully fell upon Jackson. Lee and 
Longstrect soon came up and pounded the Union army 
into such shreds that the Federal commander was forced to 
retreat to Washington. When they saw this turn of events, 
the Confederates invaded western Maryland, where they 
were met at Antietam by General McClellan, who had 
brought his troops north from the battlefields before 
Richmond, The Southern army was defeated in the 
attempt to raid the North, and so retired back again into 
Virginia. 

In all this fighting, Stuart's cavalry played an important 
part and was constantly engaged. But when the army 
had been driven back into Virginia, the daring cavalry 
leader thought it time for another raid around the aggres- 
sive Federals. The Northern press was loud in its praise 
of McClellan and congratulating itself that " the rebels " 
had been driven from Northern soil, when Stuart, with a 
force of thirteen hundred men, left the Confederate front, 
forded the upper waters of the Potomac, and rode for the 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 299 

Union rear at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Before his 
men galloped into the town they were preceded by an 
advance guard. This had passed througli, when a German 
Major of the Union army, with a fierce, bristling mous- 
tache, cantered up to the City Hall. Halting there, in 
the presence of some countrywomen, he cried out, " Vere 
ish de confounded repels? Vere ish de goot-for-nodings 
Stuart? Vere ish he mit de Cavalrie? Let me but see 
him unt I vill show him somedings dat de Union cavalrie 
can do." 

" Why," said one of the w^omen, " Some of Fitzhugh 
Lee's cavalry have just passed through." 

" Goot, young woman," cried the Major, " Ve vill 
show de repels somedings." 

He started down the road with his men and had not gone 
far before numbers of Stuart's horsemen dashed into the 
town. The gallant Major was flabbergasted. He swore ; 
he yelled ; he put spurs to his horse ; but the nag was not 
fast enough to carry him away from " de repels," who 
soon had him securely bound to a mule and marching 
in the rear of their column. 

Stuart's troopers took possession of the town, captured 
and destroyed much public property, and then mounted 
themselves on fresh horses. Without losing a man, and 
without a mishap, they again rode completely around the 
Union army. It was another gallant exploit. The North 
was astonished; the South was jubilant and at that 
moment,. Stuart was at the zenith of his power; his men 
were confident in his ability ; flushed with the success that 
had always attended their raids ; and rich with the spoils 
of their campaigns. The Union cavalry was inefficient 



300 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

and unaggressive, but in two more years the tide was 
to turn so that the Union force was to be the aggressive, 
active, combatant; while lack of horses, supplies, and 
men was to crush the spirit and fire of the once powerful 
Confederate horse. 

After numerous skirmishes with the Union army, the 
Confederates finally retreated across the Rappahannock 
River at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and here fortified. In 
December, the Union army under Burnside — who had 
superseded McClellan - - made an ineffectual attempt 
to dislodge them. In this battle Stuart was on the right of 
the Confederate battle line, where he directed the horse 
artillery and made great havoc in the left flank of the Union 
advance. Immediately after his bloody fight, away went 
Stuart and his men on another raid against the Union 
rear. As usual, the raid was most successful and resulted 
in the capture of numerous prisoners and a large amount 
of booty. 

The Confederate cavalry leader had endeavoured to 
throw a number of the Generals operating against him into 
a state of utter confusion, by intercepting their dispatches 
and answering them in such a way that his pursuers would 
be scattered all over the country. With the raiders was 
always a telegraph operator who carried a portable in- 
strument. This he would attach to the wires at a certain 
point, and thus he could read all the messages that were 
transmitted. One day a large number of mules, sent by 
the Union Quartermaster-General to Burnside's army, 
fell into Stuart's hands. Accordingly the General called 
his telegraph operator, told him to attach his machine 
to the wires, and sent this message, — 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 301 

' I am much satisfied with the transport of mules, 
lately sent, which I have taken possession of, and request 
that you send me a fresh supply. 

" J. E. B. Stuart." 

You can easily imagine what excitement and chagrin 
this produced in Washington when it was received at 
Headquarters. 

It would have been impossible for the Confederate 
cavalry to have had such a bold and daring front, had 
they not had such an indefatigable leader. Many Eng- 
lish officers in the wars with tribes of hostile natives in 
Africa and India, have been noted for their powers to 
resist fatigue. None, however, have a better record for 
great energy under trying circumstances than General 
Stuart. Frequently he would go for eighteen hours with 
lack of sleep. It was no new thing for him to ride fifty 
miles during the day, and to regard it as a pleasure to 
ride a dozen a day more miles at night, in order to dance 
at some Virginia, country house. With his banjo player 
to assist in the fun, Stuart would frequently visit every 
hospitable roof within ten miles of headquarters, salute all 
the inmates with a song, and return to his own bed long 
after midnight. Yet, at dawn he would be the earliest 
to rise, in perfect good humour with all the world. He 
never used tobacco, wine, or any stimulant. His good 
spirits were due to an iron constitution and an optimistic 
spirit. 

Burnside was succeeded by " Fighting Joe Hooker," 
and again the Union army attacked the Confederates at 
Fredericksburg. In April Hooker endeavoured to ma- 



302 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

noeuvre the wily General Lee from his strong position. The 
armies met in the woods, near Chancellorsville, where 
Stuart's command was actively engaged in the four days 
of fighting that followed. When Hooker's cavalry, under 
Stoneman, crossed the river, the Confederate horsemen 
impeded them most successfully. Stuart fought Stoneman 
at the fords of the Rapidan River, hung on Hooker's 
flanks, and, after beating off the Union cavalry, fell upon 
the infantry in the wilderness of woods and thickets near 
Chancellorsville. Soon he marched to Spottsylvania 
Court House so as to be near Lee's army. 

Hooker had securely entrenched in the wilderness so Lee 
decided to send Stonewall Jackson on a long detour 
through the woods, with orders to fall on the Union right 
flank. Jackson marched all day through the deep forest, 
his army covered by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry ; commanded 
in person by General Stuart. Late in the afternoon, 
Jackson's men burst furiously through the timber upon 
the Eleventh Corps, far on the Union right. The troops 
were stampeded, and, throwing down their guns, rushed 
to the rear. It looked like a sure victory for the Con- 
federates, — a total rout. But, as they pushed victoriously 
forward, — the great Stonewall Jackson fell. His death 
stopped the advance, for the Union troops were fighting 
gamely, and it needed the presence of Jackson to spur 
them on. General Stuart, in person, commanded the 
attack after Jackson had fallen, and how he and his staff 
officers, who galloped up and down the line, remained 
unhurt, seems almost a miracle. Several couriers sent by 
General Stuart were wounded, — one had his leg torn 
away by a cannon-ball while the General was giving him 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 303 

directions. Stuart's horse was killed under him in the 
first half-hour of the fight. In spite of this, he secured 
another mount, and was all activity in the hail of shot and 
shell. A soldier says of him that when the fight was most 
severe he heard him hum the words of an old song that 
was most popular at the South, " Old Joe Hooker, get 
out of the Wilderness." 

The Union army rallied from the shock of Jackson's 
attack and held off the victorious Confederates from new 
entrenchments thrown up behind their first line. But, 
after another day of desperate fighting, Hooker's men 
retreated across the river. Lee was so much elated at the 
success of his army that he determined to act upon the 
offensive and again invade the North, so he deserted his 
old position at Fredericksburg and moved towards the 
Shenandoah Mountains. 

On the ninth of June, Pleasanton — who had super- 
seded General Stoneman in command of the Union cavalry 
— crossed the Rappahannock River in order to recon- 
noitre and discover if the Confederate army were really 
moving. Stuart met him at Brandy Station, and here the two 
great bodies of cavalry came together in a desperate 
encounter. It was the first time in the war that a complete 
force of Union cavalry had met the entire Confederate 
cavalry brigade. Perhaps this was as large a battle between 
mounted men as will occur in the United States. Certainly 
it was a severe encounter, and, although it lasted for two 
days, the result was most undecided. Stuart claimed it 
as a victory, but Pleasanton had done as he had wished, — 
he had proved that the Union cavalry could fight a stub- 
born contest with tlie Confederates, and the result had 



304 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

given confidence to the Northern troops. For the first time 
they felt that they could stand up against the invincible 
Virginia rangers, and Pleasanton had found that Lee was 
moving to the Shenandoah Valley in great force. 

The Confederate army had soon passed behind the 
spurs of mountains that sheltered the fertile valley of the 
Shenandoah, and had crossed the Potomac River into 
Maryland. The Union troops closely followed Lee's 
men, always keeping between the invaders and Washington. 
Finally the two, great fighting machines met on the bloody 
field of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Here the Con- 
federates attacked, while the soldiers who had been on the 
aggressive in Virginia, were now the defenders of the 
advantageous positions. So vigorously was the ground 
contested that Lee was again forced to abandon an in- 
vasion of the North. 

In this campaign Stuart again passed around the Union 
army — Meade's army now — for the fighting Joe Hooker 
had been superseded by this cautious General. Shortly 
after that bloody affair at Brandy Station, information 
received from his scouts led the Confederate cavalry 
leader to the belief that he could inflict very serious 
damage upon the opposing force should he again make one 
of those daring raids to the rear. It was thought that the 
Federal Commander would be so confused by the presence 
of a large cavalry command behind his own force, that 
he would retreat. This plan was submitted to General 
Lee, and, as all the roads leading northward were blocked 
by masses of infantry and artillery, it can be easily seen 
that there would be much delay before the cavalry could 
pass. So Lee decided to allow the adventurous Stuart to 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 305 

make a wide circle around the backs of his foe and meet 
the head of the invading Confederate column at York, 
Pennsylvania, near the spot where the army was to con- 
centrate and fight a decisive battle. But, before he sepa- 
rated from Lee's army, Stuart ordered a sufficient number 
of cavalrymen to remain behind, in order to guard the 
advance of the infantry columns; to scout; and to bring 
information of the enemy's movements. As subsequently 
turned out, these did not do their duty in an effective 
manner, and the absence of Stuart made it impossible for 
General Lee to know the precise disposition of the troops 
against which he was mo\'ing. It has been often said that, 
had Stuart remained with Lee, the battle of Gettysburg 
would have turned out far differently for the South. 

On the twenty-fourth of June the Confederate cavalry 
column crossed to the rear of the Union army and began 
to march through Maryland to the place in Pennsylvania 
where they were to meet the Confederate advance. As the 
head of the troop pushed towards the Potomac River, 
along came a magnificent, shiny carriage, in which was 
a gentleman dressed in a serge suit. The troopers were 
rather too closely massed for the carriage to pass by. 

" Move aside, men, move aside ! " said the gentleman 
in the new clothes. " I am an officer in the Seventy-ninth 
Pennsylvania regiment on recruiting service for the United 
States army, and must get on." 

The cavalrymen moved aside very slowly and just then, 
General Stuart rode up. 

" Are you the officer in command? " asked the Federal 
officer, little suspecting who he was. 

" I am in charge of these soldiers," replied the General. 



306 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" Then be good enough to order your men to make 
way for me. I am an officer in the Seventy-ninth Pennsyl- 
vania and it is very important that L get ahead as rapidly 
as I can." 

" Very good, sir, you shall get ahead," said General 
Stuart, winking at one of his men, who got down from 
his horse and took a seat next to the well-dressed recruiting 
officer. The occupant of the carriage showed that he was 
annoyed. 

" What do you mean, my man, by cUmbing in here ! " 
he thundered. 

The cavalryman looked at him and smiled very faintly. 
" Nothing," he answered. 

" Who is that officer, there? " 

" General Stuart, sir." 

'' What General Stuart ? " 

" Jeb. Stuart, Major-General of Cavalry in the Con- 
federate service," rephed the trooper, very slowly. 

The recruiting officer for the Pennsylvania Seventy- 
ninth sank back upon the cushions. 

" Well, I am procured," he said. " I certainly am 
procured." 

" I rather guess that you are, pardner," answered the 
soldier by his side, and the carriage was turned to the rear, 
where the pompous officer was soon dispatched to a 
Southern prison. 

For nine days the Confederate cavalry marched and 
fought on the way to rejoin the army. Canals, railroads, 
and telegraph lines were destroyed between Washington 
and the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore, so that, for 
some time, all communication was cut off between the 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 307 

Government and the army under Meade. A great many 
prisoners were taken while several wagon trains were 
captured and burned. On the thirteenth of June Stuart 
reached Hanover, Pennsylvania, and there stumbled 
across a large force of Union cavalry under Kilpatrick. 
A fight ensued, and though neither side was driven from 
the field, it detained General Stuart for a whole day. He 
had now been separated from Lee's army for six days, and 
all he knew of the movements of the troops was from 
Northern newspapers which fell into his hands. From 
these he learned that the Confederate army was at York, 
Pennsylvania, and so he hastened to Join the infantry 
of his own side. For some time he searched rather aim- 
lessly for the Confederate column and finally arrived 
upon the field of Gettysburg on the second day of fighting. 
The raid had been most successful in so far as the capture 
of prisoners and private property had been concerned, 
and Stuart had damaged the Union line of communica- 
tions and spread much terror and confusion among the 
inhabitants of the peaceful communities through which 
he had passed. Yet he arrived upon the field with his 
horses so worn out that they could not be effectively used, 
and his men were so tired, from lack of sleep, that they 
could not fight with their usual spirit. General Lee, too, 
had needed the cavalry to keep him well informed of 
Meade's advance. But the mischief was now done, and, 
although the adventurous spirit of Stuart had been grati- 
fied by another dash to the rear, it would have been better 
for the Confederate Commander had his fam.ous cavalry- 
man been personally in charge of the scouts in advance 
of his infantry columns. 



308 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Although his men were weary and his horses worn out, 
on the afternoon of the third day of the battle, they were 
called upon to make a dash to the right and rear of Meade's 
position. The men responded with their usual cheer- 
fulness, but, met by a stubborn resistance by the cavalry 
under Buford and Pleasanton, they were fought to a stand- 
still. Here General Custer distinguished himself with that 
reckless daring which was to make him such a successful 
fighter of Indians in later years, and here the confidence 
which the Union cavalry had gained in the battle of Brandy 
Station made it possible for them to contend with Stuart's 
raiders with a far better determination than they had 
shown before. After a bloody assault on the Union centre 
that day, with the columns of Pickett, Pettigrew, and 
Trimble ; General Lee withdrew his troops for a retreat, 
and, as he slowly marched to the South, Stuart and his 
men protected his rear from assault. It was hard service 
for the youthful cavalry leader, but he conducted himself 
with the greatest bravery and never urged his men forward 
with more cheerfulness than now. The Confederate 
advance was the last that the Southern army was to make. 
It had been a complete failure, but, in spite of this, Stuart 
was buoyant with the prospect of ultimate victory; a 
prospect which many of the officers had already begun to 
despair of. 

Now Lee's army was once more in Virginia and the 
Union van confronted it with as much determination as 
ever. There was much skirmishing that fall near the 
Rappahannock and the Rapidan, but little came of these 
encounters. Both armies retired to winter quarters, 
waiting for the warmth of Spring before they would again 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 309 

grapple in the field of war. In December Stuart made 
another of his dashing raids, this time the last, and in 
January he frequently captured pickets and supplies meant 
for the Union troops. As Spring approached the North 
prepared for a desperate advance on the Southern forces. 
General Ulysses S. Grant was now entrusted with the 
command of all the armies of the Union, superseding 
Meade, who was left still in full charge of the Army of the 
Potomac, but under Grant's direction. General Philip 
H. Sheridan was given command of the cavalry of the 
Army of the Potomac. 

When the weather was sufficiently warm to permit the 
artillery to move over the dried-up roads, the Union host 
crept forward from its camp near Culpepper, Virginia, 
and attacked Lee in the forests. A terrible battle ensued. 
It lasted for four days and the loss of men on both sides 
was heavy. This struggle has been called the Battle of the 
Wilderness, for the troops were hurled against each other 
in a perfect tangle of woods and thickets where the under- 
brush caught fire from the exploding shells, and many 
poor fellows gave up their lives in the flames. It was the 
most desperate fighting of the war. 

At this time Grant determined to adopt the cavalry 
tactics previously employed against him by General Stuart. 
Consequently he ordered Sheridan, with twelve hundred 
horse, to move to the rear of Lee's army as he grappled 
with it in the Wilderness, and if possible to get into Rich- 
mond. He was also told to damage the communications 
of the Confederate force, as much as possible. Sheridan 
was an active, aggressive fighter and was soon in the rear 
of Lee's troops. 



310 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

On the eleventh of May, the people of Richmond were 
thrown into great excitement by the advance of the Union 
cavalry to the outskirts of the city. Several brigades of 
infantry were sent forward for its defence ; the militia was 
called out ; and all the troops that could be collected were 
hastened to the line of earth-works that surrounded the 
Capital of the South. Sheridan's men, under Merritt 
and Custer, were pushing rapidly towards Richmond 
when they were overtaken by Stuart's cavalry, led by the 
General in person. At a small place called Yellow Tavern 
the two cavalry commands came together, and, with only 
eleven hundred men, the daring Stuart was soon engaged 
with eight thousand. It was nothing to him to see that the 
enemy so outnumbered him, for he would have attacked 
twice that number to save the Capital of the people whom 
he loved. "Besides, he hoped for assistance from a column 
of Confederate infantry, some distance in the rear, and 
he knew that if he could check Sheridan's force until these 
reinforcements arrived, he could, no doubt, capture a 
large portion of the command. So he dashed in vahantly ; 
fighting with his accustomed valour and enthusiasm. 

At about four o'clock in the afternoon, the Federal 
cavalry made a general charge and broke up a regiment 
of Confederate horse which General Stuart was attempting 
to rally in an open field. The Union soldiers pushed 
onward and were met by the First Virginia, which drove 
them back in confusion. The Confederate General was 
well in front of his men when he saw some dismounted 
troopers running off on the opposite side of a high fence. 
He immediately called out to them to surrender and fired 
at them with his revolver as they continued their flight. 



JEB STUART: CAVALIER 311 

Unfortunately he shot away his last cartridge. One of 
the men, who had been running away, halted, came back, 
ran up to the fence, and fired his revolver at the General. 
The ball went clear through him, and, feeling that he was 
mortally wounded, he wheeled his charger and galloped 
off to the rear of his own troops, where he fell from his 
horse, insensible. He was sent to Richmond in an ambu- 
lance. 

As he lay upon a cot, gradually sinking in death, he was 
visited by the President of the Southern Confederacy. 
Taking the General's hand in his. President Davis asked 
him how he felt. 

" Easy," replied Stuart, " but willing to die if God and 
my country think that I have fulfilled my destiny and done 
my duty." The President was much affected by the sight 
of this splendid leader in his last hour, and soon left the 
bedside, his head bowed in the deepest grief. 

As evening approached the young General grew delirious 
and his mind wandered to the scenes of his recent cam- 
paigns. He spoke of his men; he seemed to see them 
before him ; he called to them and urged them on to the 
charge. Then his mind wandered to his wife and children, 
who were far away in the country and were then hastening 
to his bedside. About five o'clock his mind grew clear 
and he asked Dr. Brewer, his brother-in-law, how long he 
felt it possible for him to live, and if he thought that he 
could survive the night. 

" No," replied the Doctor, tearfully, " You cannot 
last much longer." 

" I am resigned," replied the General, " If it is God's 
will. I should like so much, to see my wife before I die. 
But God's will be done." 



312 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

He then told those near him what to do with his personal 
belongings and official papers. He remembered a request 
from an admirer and said to his brother-in-law, " You 
will find in my hat a small, Confederate flag which a lady 
in Columbia, South Carolina, sent to me with the request 
that I should wear it upon my head in a battle and return 
it to her. It has been done, send it to her." 

He remembered his little son whom he greatly loved. 
He spoke of him most affectionately, and said.. " Give my 
sword to my dear little boy." 

He presented his spurs to a lady. To his staff officers 
he gave his horses, and then drawing a fellow officer to 
him — a Prussian who had volunteered at the beginning of 
the war — he said, with a great show of affection, 

" My dear Von, I am sinking fast now, but, before I die 
I want you to know that I never loved a man as much as 
yourself. I pray that your life may be long and happy. 
Look after my family when I am gone, and be the same, 
true friend to my wife and children that you have been to 
mc." 

He then turned to a Minister of the Episcopal Church 
who was near-by, and asked him to sing a hymn, beginning, 

" Rock of ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide my face in thee." 

In the chanting of this well-known psalm he joined with 
all the strength that his weakened voice would allow. He 
then prayed with the Minister and the friends around him. 
" I am going fast now, I am resigned to God," were his 
last words, and thus the soul of Stuart — the gay and 
light-hearted Cavalier — departed to another world. 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



PHIL SHERIDAN: THE DAREDEVIL 

ABOUT the year 1837, some ragged, little boys were 
playing on the streets of a small town in Ohio, and 
among them was a sturdy and grimy youngster, 
called Phil, whom they dared to clamber up upon the 
back of a stray horse that had followed his master's cart 
into town with only a halter upon his neck. Nothing 
daunted at the disparaging remarks of his companions, the 
youngster wormed himself up upon the back of the animal ; 
gave him a dig with his heels; and clung to him by the 
mane as he ran headlong down the central street ; terrify- 
ing the quiet villagers as he dashed by, and knocking down 
an old apple man in his flight. Mile after mile passed, 
as the half-wild steed sped into the open country, en- 
deavouring to unseat his tenacious rider at every bound, — ■ 
but it was useless. At last the excited horse turned sud- 
denly into the yard of a wayside Tavern and the amused 
and interested guests seized the daredevil rider by the legs 
and lifted him to the ground. There he stood in the midst 
of the admiring crowd with a smile of both amusement 
and satisfaction upon his face. 

" Who on earth taught you to ride ? " asked a gentle- 
man who had seized the child by the hand and had started 
to lead him to the Tavern. 

" Nobody," answered little Philip, " I just knowed 
313 



314 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

how For Willie Seymour said that the way ter ride was 
ter hold on with your knees, — and I did " 

This remark was greeted with chuckles and appreciative 
remarks from the crowd of bystanders, and one old fellow 
called out, 

" I tell yew, now, gentlemen, that ere kid will be heard 
from some day He's ez sandy er young un ez I've ever 
knowed." 

And what he said was the truth, for the courageous 
youngster who had ridden bare-back upon the spirited 
horse was little Phil Sheridan, who was one day to be the 
commander of all the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, 
and who was to be known as the hero of one of the most 
extraordinary rides in history. 

We have seen that the noble and chivalric Jeb Stuart 
was the greatest cavalry leader that the South produced in 
the bloody conflict between the States, and that the Con- 
federate cavalry never recovered from the shock of his 
untimely death His opponent at the fight at Yellow 
Tavern was General Phil Sheridan, who survived the war 
and left a record for dash and courage that was quite equal 
to that of the brave leader of the Southern horse. Further- 
more, he had the good fortune to continue in the field of 
active service for a great many years after the war between 
the States, and to be engaged in several Indian campaigns 
which added fame and lustre to his distinguished name. 
Sheridan is the greatest cavalryman that the country has 
known, and for intrepid courage, zeal, and combativeness, 
has seldom had an equal in the warfare between civilized 
people 

His parents were Irish, and came from the County of 



PHIL SHERIDAN 315 

Cavan, from which they emigrated to America and settled 
at Albany, New York. Here Philip Henry Sheridan — ■ 
their second son — was born on March 6th, 1830; and 
here he remained for a few years, until the family moved 
to Somerset, Ohio, which was a frontier village, in the 
" fresh, untouched, unbounded, magnificent wilderness," 
as Daniel Webster has so aptly named it. John Sheridan 
(the father of the great cavalryman) was a hardy and in- 
dustrious man who built his own house, chopping down the 
trees of the forest with his able hands, and plastering his 
cabin with mud from the fields in order to keep out the 
wintry blasts. Mrs. Sheridan was a woman of good sense 
and much practical knowledge, so that her family of five 
youngster's — four of whom were boys — learned much 
that was worthy and useful from her. Young Phil was 
not very different from other boys save that he was perhaps 
more full of fun and vitality than his companions and had 
a passionate love for horses. He was black-haired ; red- 
cheeked ; sturdy and pugnacious. 

Just as soon as he was old enough to learn his letters 
he was sent to the village school — kept by an old school- 
master called McNanly, who was of a pepperish temper 
and none too easy on his pupils. This crusty, old fellow 
had one boy of whom he was particularly fond, whose name 
was Home, and with him young Phil had a royal fist-fight, 
one day. So furious was the affray that little Home ran 
into the school-room with a bloody nose, while the irate 
school-master seized his switch, — determined to admin- 
ister a sound drubbing to the future leader of cavalry, who 
had given the blows which had caused the flow of so much 
blood. But young Phil had expected such an attack, and 



316 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

was waiting on a fence to see what the school-master was 
going to do. So when Mr. McNanly emerged from his 
door — cane in hand — it was easy for him to drop over 
on the other side of the fence and make off as fast as his 
young legs would carry him. 

The Tinsmith in the village was busy in making a large 
boiler — lying mouth down upon the floor — when he 
was startled by seeing young Phil running into his shop. 
He dropped his hammer with a bang, and, as he did so, 
Sheridan crept beneath the boiler and hid himself securely 
from all eyes. It was none too soon, for just then the 
school-master rushed furiously into the shop and asked 
where the boy had gone to. 

" Ain't seen him," replied the Tinsmith, to his questions. 

And so the school-master departed, while little Phil hid 
beneath the protecting boiler for an hour before he dared 
to venture back to the school-room. When he did so, Mr. 
McNanly pretended not to notice him, and so he escaped 
entirely from the whipping which had been surely due 
him for his fight with little Home. " This," said General 
Sheridan, years afterwards, " was worse than being under 
fire at Winchester and Cedar Creek, I never suffered so 
much physical anguish in my life as when lying under that 
boiler, expecting every moment that ]\Ir. McNanly would 
lift it up and find me beneath." 

After a year's schooling, Sheridan's father thought that 
he had had sufficient education and so secured him a 
clerkship in a dry goods store ; but this life was distasteful 
to the future cavalryman, for it was too dry, exacting, and 
unexciting. He longed to have a change, and when an 
opportunity was offered him of entering West Point, 



PHIL SHERIDAN 317 

eagerly grasped the chance to secure an appointment; 
for his ambition v/as fired with the thought of becoming 
a real soldier ; and night after night — with the light of a 
tallow candle — he sat up in the back of the store and 
poured over books of history, geography, and arithmetic. 
His efforts to gain knowledge were crowned with such 
success, that in 1849 he passed a splendid examination 
for West Point and was immediately admitted. 

His record at the Academy was not an especially bril- 
liant one, for, not only was he suspended for a year because 
of a fight with another cadet — his superior — but he 
was graduated with no particular honours. Of the class 
of fifty-two members who left West Point, he was thirty- 
fifth in point of excellence, although recognized to be the 
foremost horseman in the entire body of cadets. Sent 
immediately to Texas — with the brevet appointment 
of Second Lieutenant, — he saw a summer of active service 
in scouting; mapping the country; and in protecting 
the roads and different frontier outposts from the attacks 
of Indians, who were not only numerous, but bloodthirsty. 
The hardships of his life were very great and the winter 
was spent in comparative misery ; with no fresh vegetables 
to ward off the scurvy, and with nothing but a hut of 
poles and half- rotten canvas, to keep off the wind and 
rain. But Sheridan enjoyed it all and never once com- 
plained of hardship and danger, — for he was by nature 
a lover of everything that was rough and which required 
a vigorous nature to withstand. " A man's life is a life 
in the open," he often remarked. " There is too much 
civilization for the average individual; it makes him love 
comfort more than a house-cat." 



318 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

In 1855 the budding General was transferred to the 
Fourth Infantry, and, after a brief stay at Fort Wood, 
in New York Harbour, he was sent to San Francisco by 
way of Panama, with a detachment of half-disciphned 
recruits. But he was not to remain long at the Golden 
Gate, for the Yakima Indians were on the warpath in 
Washington Territory, so he was hurried to the scene of 
action and placed in command of a detachment of mounted 
infantry, called dragoons, who were half-drilled, but 
eager and willing for an active campaign. It is said that 
Sheridan was thoroughly disgusted with the laziness of 
some of his men and one day determined to shame them. 
So, in the morning, at roll-call, he tried to do so. 

" I have a nice, easy job," he said, " for the laziest 
man in the company. Will the laziest man step to the 
front ? " 

Instantly fifty-nine men stepped forward. 

" Why don't you step to the front, too? " he demanded 
of the sixtieth. 

" I'm too lazy," repHed the soldier ; and the laugh was 
decidedly upon the doughty Lieutenant. 

The first battle that amounted to anything was at the 
falls, or cascades, of the Columbia River, where the Indians 
had a fortification upon an island, from which they fre- 
quently made raids upon the white settlers. Sheridan 
determined to capture this island, and with this end in 
view, loaded down an old boat with his command, and 
floated down the stream until his men were able to clamber 
out upon the shore of the ground which was held by the 
savages. A battle was, at once, begun, and soon the affair 
assumed a serious aspect for the United States troops ; as 



PHIL SHERIDAN 319 

the Indians far outnumbered them. The Bluecoats began 
to stampede to the boat, but Sheridan cheered them on to 
a determined resistance of the overwhelming attack, and 
so conducted the retreat, that his men escaped from the 
island with the loss of but one of their number. The 
youthful Lieutenant was highly complimented by his 
superior ofi&cers for his conduct in this affair, and several 
of them predicted that he would, some day, be promoted 
to the rank of Colonel. Little did they think that this 
immature Lieutenant would become the best known Gen- 
eral of the country, and would so surpass them in abihty 
and reputation that they would be some day proud to have 
been associated with him in this small and insignificant 
action. 

In spite of this excellent fighting which young Sheridan 
had done, he was still a Lieutenant at the outbreak of the 
Civil War, and was at an army post in the far North-West 
when he was made profoundly joyous by receiving a com- 
mission to a Captaincy in the Thirteenth Cavalry, with 
orders to report, at once, in St. Louis, for an assignment 
to duty. With a light heart and a beaming countenance 
he hastened to the scene of conflict, only to be chagrined 
by receiving an appointment as a Chief Quarter-master 
and not as an officer in active service at the front. As 
his duties were to care for the tents, baggage, and supplies, 
nothing could have been less pleasing to a man of his 
danger-loving temperament; yet he attended to his task 
with speed and cheerfulness; so that his superior officer 
was much pleased by his conduct, and commended him for 
promotion to a position of responsibility in the field. But 
this was hard to get, as the Governors of the separate 



320 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

States appointed the officers to command the volunteer 
regiments, and always — as was natural — advanced 
those who were either well known to them, or to whom they 
were under obligations. Sheridan unfortunately had no 
friends in political office, and so, as a Quarter-Master he 
remained during the entire first year of the Civil War. 
But, at last, the longed-for opening came, and through 
the intercession of some friends he was electrified, one day, 
to receive the following telegram. 

" Pittsburg Landing, May 25, 1862. 
" Captain Philip H. Sheridan is hereby appointed Colo- 
nel of the Second Michigan Cavalry. He is directed to 
take command at once. 

" Austin Blair, 
Governor 0} Michigan.'' 

The great cavalryman was at General Halleck's head- 
quarters when this missive was handed him, and as the 
news of his promotion leaked out, all the officers came up 
and offered their congratulations. One of them suggested 
a complimentary toast, and said, as he raised a glass of 
wine, 

" Here's hoping that your appointment is a step towards 
the star of Brigadier- General, Captain Phil." 

Sheridan blushed bright red before he replied, 

" No, Gentlemen," he answered. " I thank you for your 
good wishes, but I want no higher honour than this. I 
am now a Coloncl-of- Cavalry and I have all that I 
expect." 

But it was not as far up, upon the rungs of the ladder 



PHIL SHERIDAN 321 

of fame, as he was to go, for by the zeal and vim which he 
put into his new command, the soldiers easily perceived 
that they were in the hands of a genius, and predicted that 
he would, some day, be in the highest rank obtainable. 
The rough fellows nicknamed their fiery officer, " Little 
Phil," and, when anything went amiss, were accustomed 
to say, " Never mind. Little Phil will be along soon, and 
he'll fix it up so that everything will go our way." For 
like all great cavalrymen, Sheridan always took every pre- 
caution against surprise and possible defeat. He would 
study a country in which he campaigned, like a book, 
and would soon know the exact location of every stream, 
bridge, grove, hill, valley, and house, within twenty miles of 
the position of his command. And he was indefatigable in 
the discharge of his duties ; did not seem to know the mean- 
ing of the word fear; and exposed himself with so much 
recklessness when in battle, that it is a wonder that he 
ever came through the Civil War, alive. " I reckon dat 
ere feller, mus carry er rabbit foot, fer good luck," said 
one old Darkey who had seen the boyish-looking Captain 
in one of his skirmishes with the enemy. " He's got de 
luck of Debbil wid him, an dat only comes when you 
carry er rabbit's foot in yer left han' pocket. He's de 
mos' keerless pusson in de middle uv bullets I ever seen." 
After the battle of Shiloh — in which the Union Army 
barely defeated the Confederates — Sheridan had several 
successful skirmishes with the enemy's forces, in which he 
showed so much abihty that he quickly made a reputation 
as a daring and courageous cavalry leader. So when 
General Buell was fighting General Bragg's army in Ken- 
tucky, Sheridan was ordered to take command of a division 



322 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

of the Union force and to assist Buell in defeating one of 
the most able of the Confederate Commanders. In the 
battle of Perryville — which was an undecided contest — 
he played a conspicuous part; but it was not until the 
famous struggle at Lookout Mountain, sometime later, 
that he had an opportunity of showing his true mettle 
and of making a gallant charge that won the day for the 
Union side. So greatly did this abound to his credit, that 
he was soon the most talked-of cavalryman in the North, 
and the most popular. 

General Rosecrans succeeded General Buell and was 
placed in command of what was known as the Army of 
the Cumberland, which was opposed to the Confederate 
forces under Braxton Bragg in Kentucky and Tennessee, 
and the now well-known Sheridan was given charge of a 
division of the right wing. Not long after assuming this 
command, the two armies met in a three days' contest 
at Stone River, in which nearly half of Sheridan's entire 
force was killed and wounded in the fearful slaughter upon 
that bloody field of battle. 

After the first day of furious fighting General Bragg 
determined to attack the Union force, early in the morning, 
and to concentrate his efforts upon the right flank of his 
opponents. The Confederate leader hoped to gain a vic- 
tory; to capture the city of Nashville; and to drive the 
opposing forces eastward, so that he could advance far 
into the enemy's country. He therefore gave the order 
for a general movement of his right wing at an early hour 
in the morning, — and at a time when the Union troops 
would be ill prepared to meet the assault. 

But Sheridan — with the true instinct of a born fighter — 



PHIL SHERIDAN 323 

suspected the designs of his enemy ; and so spent the entire 
night in examining his opponents' position; in placing 
his troops in the most advantageous hillocks for repelling 
an assault ; and in watching the moving forms of the enemy 
in the half-light of a clouded moon. About two o'clock 
in the morning he became convinced that a large and 
powerful force was massed against his right flank, and so 
he hastily went to General McCook, who was in command 
of the threatened portion of the Union line, and told him 
to make every arrangement for repelling a furious attack. 
But strange as it may seem, that ofhcer did not seem to 
regard the matter with much concern, and, after a long 
harangue with the young Captain, told him that it was not 
his intention to change the disposition of his forces in 
order to meet what he thought would be only a slight and 
ineffective advance. 

He much regretted his error in not taking Sheridan's 
advice, a few hours later, for, shortly before daylight, four 
divisions of Confederate infantry made a terrific attack 
upon the extreme right of the Union line, which was only 
half prepared to meet the advance of the enemy. In con- 
sequence it was doubled back upon the rest of the army, 
and, had it not been for Captain Sheridan's quick and de- 
cisive action in turning the fire of three batteries upon 
the exultant Confederates, it would have gone badly with 
the Union troops. As it was, this concentrated fire drove 
the advancing enemy back in confusion, and saved the 
right wing of Rosecran's forces from a crushing blow. 
Two assaults followed this first advance, but both were so 
successfully repulsed that Bragg became convinced of the 
uselessness in attempting to break his opponents' line, 



324 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

and so withdrew his worn-out men. Sheridan had con- 
ducted himself with the greatest bravery and resolution; 
had exposed himself continually; and had been every- 
where at once. In this long and desperate struggle one- 
third of his command had been either killed or wounded, 
and the greater part of his artillery horses had been either 
shot or disabled. Five vigorous and determined assaults 
had been repulsed, and when the campaign closed on the 
second of January, 1863, the force under his command 
had been so weakened by its terrible losses, that it could 
not have stood another like engagement without total 
annihilation. 

The troops were, at this time, in a limestone region, 
where the dust upon the roads was like whitish powder. 
This blew around them in whirling clouds whenever there 
was dry weather, and covered their uniforms with a thick 
coating of grayish material. Sheridan sent a vidette out 
to reconnoitre, one day, but the fellow trespassed too far 
within the enemy's Unes for safety, and suddenly dis- 
covered that he had ridden into some Confederate pickets, 
who little suspected that he was a Union soldier, because 
of the gray look to his cap and uniform. 

'* Whar you bound, Cavalryman ? " asked the Con- 
federate sentry. " And who be ye ? " 

" I'm one of Forrest's boys," answered Sheridan's 
trooper, "an' the countersign is, ' Death to Uncle Abe and 
the Union.' " 

At this the Confederate sentries burst out laughing. 

" 'Taint right," said one, " but I reckon you kin pass." 

And he moved aside as the cavalryman rode by. But 
unfortunately for Sheridan's man the gray upon the front 



PHIL SHERIDAN 325 

of his uniform was not equally well distributed over his 
back, and, as he galloped joyfully away, the long. Con- 
federate yell which rang out upon the clear air, warned him 
that the sentries had discovered his true identity. Imme- 
diately shots rang out and bullets whizzed so dangerously 
near him that one punctured the crown of his hat. When 
he arrived in camp and told his story, General Sheridan 
would not believe it, until he saw the hole in the hat crown, 
and then he roared with laughter at the thought of the 
chagrin and mortification of the two Johnny Rebs. It 
was the best joke upon the enemy that one of his own men 
ever perpetrated. 

General Sheridan advanced with the Union army under 
Rosecrans to the vicinity of Chattanooga in Tennessee, 
in the autumn of 1863, and was in a bloody, three days' 
battle with the Confederates at Chickamauga. In this 
the Union army was not successful, and so the Army 
of the Cumberland, as it was called, retreated to Chatta- 
nooga at the foot of Lookout Mountain, to a most un- 
favourable position where it was hemmed in on three sides 
by the now exultant Confederates. As all ways of getting 
supplies were cut off save one, and that a difficult path 
through the Cumberland Mountains, it v.-as not infrequent 
to see the supplies for the Union army captured by the 
Confederate cavalrymen. So scarce, indeed, did rations 
become, that Sheridan was forced to forage upon the 
country, and he, himself, often joined the expeditions of his 
men, sent out after chickens, geese, turkeys, and, ducks. 
As he had peculiarly long arms which hung to his knees, 
it was easy for him to reach considerably lower than the 
average man ; and one day, as he was riding along the road, 



326 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

it is said that he leaned over his horse — with a swift 
clutch — and seized the neck of an unsuspecting goose 
that was unwary enough to venture near his mount. For 
this reason he was often called " the Great Goose Catcher " 
by those who knew of this adventure. 

The Confederate position on Lookout Mountain and 
Missionary Ridge was such a favourable one that they 
could easily throw shells into the Union camp. This they 
did with considerable accuracy, but it did not do much 
damage and few men were killed by the explosion of the 
missiles. Finally the Union troops were ready for an 
advance and determined to rout out their courageous 
enemy who were causing so much annoyance and the loss 
of so much rest. General Rosecrans had been removed 
from the command of the Union force and General U. S. 
Grant was in the position of director of the Army of the 
Cumberland, when the fight for the control of Missionary 
Ridge and Lookout Mountain commenced, and it was one 
of the most picturesque and dramatic battles of history. 

Missionary Ridge — a high, precipitous chain of moun- 
tains, was protected by three lines of defences. First, 
earthworks were thrown up near the base, which were 
defended by courageous and hardy troops. Then, half 
way up the side of the ridge, rifle-pits had been dug in 
broken lines, so that, if driven from the lower grounds, 
the retreating Confederates could find protection here. 
And finally, on the very summit of the ridge, itself, was 
a line of cannon which swept the entire field of approaches. 
A reserve of infantry v/as stationed near-by which could 
be moved to any portion of the fine that seemed to need 
added strength. Truly this was an almost impossible line 



PHIL SHERIDAN 327 

of enfrenchments to carry, for it is well known that one 
man behind an earthwork is worth three in the open ; yet 
in spite of this fact, General Sheridan was ordered to 
attack, and capture the lower line of earthworks. To him 
it was not an impossible task, for he did not know the 
meaning of insurmountable obstacles, and he gladly 
made his preparations for the assault. But with the fore- 
sight of a leader of acute reasoning power, he asked per- 
mission from his superior officer to be allowed to carry the 
ridge itself, " for," he said, " if my men get into the lower 
breastworks, there will be no stopping them. They will 
want to go clear up to the summit." " Take only the lower 
line of entrenchments," was the order that was sent back; 
and so he rode out in front of his men, as they made ready 
for the fray, and said, " Boys, you see those earthworks 
in front. Take them. That's all." 

When the word for advance was given, the soldiers under 
his immediate direction rushed upon the formidable en- 
trenchments with so much fury that their attack was 
irresistible. They were shot down by regiments, but they 
kept on moving, and soon were over the very earthworks 
themselves and were clubbing with the butts of their 
muskets, all who did not flee to the protection of the second 
line of rifle-pits, half way up the mountain. 

" Let me go on," said General Sheridan, to General 
Granger. " I can now carry the second line of redoubts. 
IvCt me go on ! " 

" Your orders are to remain where you are," replied 
Granger. " Do not advance to the attack." 

But Sheridan disobeyed his orders. " Forward, men," 
he shouted. " You see the top of Missionary Ridge. Let's 
see our battle-flags on the summit ! " 



328 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

And with a cheer and yell of defiance the Union troops 
charged upon the second line of rifle-pits. The men 
dodged behind trees and fallen boulders; took aim and 
fired like Indians in Braddock's campaign, and crept on, 
on, until the fire of the disheartened Confederates was 
in their very faces. Suddenly one battle-flag was advanced 
to the line of earthworks itself and fluttered from the top 
of a yellow mound. With a yell the soldiers rushed after 
it and hurled themselves like a tempest, across the jagged 
lines of trenches. There was no stopping their furious 
assault. They enveloped the breaking Confederate line 
like an irresistible tidal wave, and although now in the 
range of the guns on the summit of the mountain and torn 
with the discharge of grape and canister, they still climbed 
upward to the beckoning Confederate ensigns on the top 
of Missionary Ridge. x\t last the first man in blue leaped 
from behind a fallen oak-stump and discharged his musket 
into the faces of the defenders of the once unapproachable 
position. Another and another followed; until the whole 
crest — for a mile — was blue with the coats of Sheridan's 
victorious men, while the gray jackets of the Confederates 
were hurrying confusedly into the depression on the other 
side. One of the most glorious infantry charges in history 
was over ; and the broken and dispirited army fled before 
the exultant soldiers of the Union cause. 

When General Grant saw Sheridan's men as they 
clambered up the side of the mountain, he was struck 
dumb with amazement. Finally he turned to General 
Thomas and said, 

" General, by whose orders are those troops going up 
the hill?" 



PHIL SHERIDAN 329 

" By no one's orders," Thomas answered. " They're 
going forward on their own account." 

General Grant scowled. 

" Well, it's all right, if it turns out all right," he said. 
" But if it doesn't some one is going to suffer and going 
to suffer bad." 

It was thus fortunate for Sheridan that he had success, 
or he might have been cashiered and dismissed the service, 
in disgrace. 

Even when the crest of the ridge was taken and the 
broken troops had been reformed, the impetuous Sheridan 
did not rest on the laurels already won. Instead of this, 
he pushed on, without orders, and pursued the retreating 
Confederates on a road which led to Chickamauga Station, 
directly in the rear of the remaining forces of the Rebel 
army. Stirred with the spirit of their leader, the soldiers 
pressed exultantly forward, and soon came up with the 
boys in gray, well posted on another ridge, and determined 
to stem the overwhelming advance. But it was useless. 
Two flanking parties were ordered to the right and to the 
left of the Confederate line, and when a general assault 
was begun, the enemy again fled in confusion. 

Now Sheridan found himself two miles in advance of his 
compatriots on Missionary Ridge, and saw that his were 
the only troops which followed the beaten forces of the 
enemy. So he galloped hastily back to a deserted house, 
where the commander of his corps had made his head- 
quarters, and requested that he be allowed other divisions 
of infantry to press home his advance. But his request 
was met with a different reception than he had expected 
and he was, at first, refused any assistance. Only after 



330 FAIMOUS CxWALRY LEADERS 

much pleading upon his part could he succeed in gaining 
permission to move his division to the crossing of Chicka- 
mauga Creek ; and he wsls told that, if the enemy should 
be met, troops would be immediately ordered up to the 
support of his own men. 

Sheridan was, of course, much dissatisfied with this 
delay, but he still hoped to get to the rear of the Confeder- 
ates and to turn the victory into a complete rout ; so, gallop- 
ing back to his own camp, he reached there at midnight, 
and, in spite of the weary condition of his troops, urged 
them to press onward at two o'clock in the morning. This 
the soldiers did with a cheerfulness that was surprising, 
but it was now too late to effect the capture of a portion 
of the retreating enemy. They had effectually made 
their escape and the decisive victory had been turned to 
naught, by the delay of those in higher command than 
Sheridan, himself. 

The failure to reap the full fruits of victory was, of 
course, a great disappointment to the fiery. Little Phil, 
and he had hard words to say of those who had failed to 
assist him in the hour of most need. When his superior 
officers, next day, saw that his plans had been correctly 
made and that if they had sent him the desired supports 
the left wing of the Confederate army would have been 
captured, or destroyed ; they, too, were equally chagrined. 
Sheridan was the hero of the hour; his name filled the 
pages of the Northern press ; his fame was upon every lip ; 
and the soldiers cheered him whenever he passed by upon 
his charger. He had commenced to make that reputation 
which was soon to mark him as one of the most successful of 
all the Union Commanders. 



PHIL SHERIDAN 331 

The trials and exposures of the campaign had com- 
menced to tell greatly upon his rugged constitution; he 
had begun to break down from constant activity, and so, 
when his troops had been comfortably settled in winter 
quarters, he applied for a short leave of absence, and was 
soon at his home in Ohio. Here rest and relief from cease- 
less anxiety soon restored him to his usual health. In 
March, he returned to the army, but he was not to remain 
longer with the Western forces of the Government. A 
telegram from General Grant directed him to proceed 
at once to Washington and to report to the Adjutant- General 
of the Army of the Potomac, then confronting General Lee 
near Culpepper, Virginia. 

At this time he was thirty- three years of age, square- 
shouldered, muscular, wiry to the last degree, and as nearly 
insensible to hardship and fatigue as it was possible to be. 
His face was much tanned by exposure, but it was lighted 
up by uncommonly, keen eyes, which showed him tu 
be a man of force. His firm chin, high cheek-bones, and 
crisp moustache, gave him a military look and stamped 
him as a thorough soldier. He had a strangely shaped 
head, with a large bump — probably of combativeness — 
behind the ears, which inconvenienced him apparently as 
much as it did his enemies in the field, — for he never 
possessed a hat that would stay upon his head. This led 
him to take his hat continually in his hand, as if to cheer 
on the troops; an occupation that he was frequently 
engaged in. He was exacting on duty; hard on de- 
linquents ; and he never, under any circumstances, issued 
orders of encouragement or congratulation to his troops 
before or after a battle, as he expected each man to thor- 



332 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

oughly do his duty. And to this soldierly view his troops 
always seemed to respond. He was self-reliant ; shunned 
notoriety ; and was abashed before the popular applause. 
He was reserved ; hospitable ; and remarkably low- voiced, 
particularly in the midst of battle, where every-one else 
would be screaming and shouting. In the field, — even 
in the hottest weather — he wore the uniform of his grade, 
in spite of its heaviness ; and this consisted of a double- 
breasted frock coat ; pantaloons inside his boots, strapped 
down, and touching at the heels two, small, brass spurs; 
one of which, broken short off at the heel, did duty for 
many months. He avoided the army hat for officers, and 
a cap of soft material was usually stuck jauntily upon one 
side of his head, as long as it would remain in position. 

Such was the man whom President Lincoln and his 
War Secretary saw when he arrived in Washington, and, 
as he was much emaciated from illness, so that he weighed 
but one hundred and fifteen pounds, it is no wonder that 
they gazed upon the celebrated cavalryman with interest 
and some amusement. The President smiled, when his 
eyes rested upon the cheerful but determined face of his 
litde General, and he invited him to the White House, 
where he interviewed him for many hours and asked no 
end of questions regarding his opinions on the conduct 
of the war. " Good-bye, and God bless you," was his 
parting remark to the illustrious cavalryman, as he left 
him for his duties at the front. " May we soon hear good 
news from your horsemen, in Virginia." 

And good news soon came, for Sheridan had shortly 
massed his cavalry and made a raid into the enemy's 
country that equalled the daring exploits of the chivalric 



PHIL SHERIDAN 333 

Jeb Stuart. General Grant had taken command of the 
army confronting Lee, and his plan was to attack the 
Confederate forces in the wilderness and to keep hammer- 
ing away at them, as he crept steadily on towards Rich- 
mond by a flank movement. Sheridan heard of the plan 
and approved it. 

" But let me go out and whip Jeb Stuart," he said. " I 
can easily do it and it would so dishearten the Confederate 
troops that you will find them more easy to push towards 
Richmond." 

General Meade was near-by, and when he heard the 
request, he objected. 

" We need your horsemen to protect our flanks," he 
said. " And we cannot afford to run the risk of losing 
you." 

" I won't be lost," replied Sheridan, " On the contrary 
you will hear from me very soon after I leave your front." 

Grant had listened to this argument with interest. 

" If you think you can whip Stuart," he said, with 
bluntness, " you can go out and do so." And Meade 
had to acquiesce to the request of the young commander. 

So Sheridan made ready with six thousand horse, well 
equipped and well supplied; and followed by a canvas, 
pontoon train for bridging the rivers which they had to 
cross. On the 7th of June the cavalrymen moved away 
from the main army and were soon on the road to Trevilian 
Station. Here they met Stuart's cavalry, in force, and a 
fierce battle ensued which resulted in no particular advan- 
tage for either side. Sheridan's men tore up the railroad 
which supplied his army, and, upon the day following, 
made another assault upon the Confederate position. 



334 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Again there was little advantage for either side and the 
Union force turned towards Richmond with the gray 
uniforms of Stuart's men, following them in a parallel 
line. There was constant skirmishing between the two 
commands, and many brave fellows fell from their horses, 
never again to rouse themselves to the blast of the bugle, 
and the cheer of " Onward ! Onward," from their beloved 
commander, " Little Phil." 

Sheridan drew nearer ^to Richmond and at Yellow 
Tavern another fierce encounter occurred between his men 
and those of the noble-hearted Stuart. The Union troops 
were but six miles from the Confederate Capital, and if they 
could have defeated the men in front they could have 
perhaps penetrated into the very heart of the city itself. 
But such was not to be the outcome of the affray, for, al- 
though the chivalric leader of the Southern cavalry was 
mortally wounded in the fierce encounter that here took 
place, Richmond had awakened to its peril, and reinforce- 
ments from every quarter hurried to the defence of the 
threatened point; so that Sheridan saw the uselessness 
of further advance and sheered off towards the north 
of the town. One of his men says : "We marched all 
night, and the halts were frequent and exasperating. It 
was so dark that we could only follow the cavalry by 
putting a bugler on a white horse directly in the rear of the 
regiment in front of us, with orders to move on as soon as 
they did. Finally, whether the bugler fell asleep while 
waiting, or we fell asleep while watching the white horse, 
it happened that we found a gap of unknown dimensions 
in front of us and started to trot in order to close it up. 
It was a swampy region ; the hoofs and the wheels made 



PHIL SHERIDAN 335 

little or no sound. Once the blackness was pierced with 
a jet of vivid flame, and a sharp explosion on the road 
showed that we had sprung one of the torpedoes which 
had been some time planted there. While in doubt of the 
direction of the highway, we came upon a man wrapped 
in a blue overcoat, standing near a gate, who told us that 
General Sheridan had left him to show us the way. Of 
course we followed his direction and entered the gate. 
It was evident that we were very near the city, as we could 
see the lights and hear the dogs barking. The road be- 
came less plainly marked and led into extensive pleasure 
grounds, and finally we brought up on the edge of a large, 
fish pond; at that moment, half a dozen flashes came 
from what seemed to be an embankment, and we found 
that we were in a veritable trap, and immediately under 
the fire of one of the out- works of the city. The guide, who 
had given us the direction, was either a deserter or a rebel 
in our uniform, and had deliberately misled us. He re- 
ceived the reward of his treachery, for Colonel Mcintosh 
who had, from the first, suspected him, kept him near him ; 
and when their guns opened on our advance, blew out his 
brains. 

As day broke, Sheridan, himself, galloped up to his com- 
mand with a beaming countenance. 

" Hello, Charley ! " he said to a Captain Fitzhugh. 
" What are you doing out here? Do you know that we 
have only a lot of department clerks from Richmond in 
front of us, who have been forced into the ranks. I could 
capture Richmond, if I wanted to, but I can't hold it ; 
and the prisoners tell me that every house in the suburbs 
is loopholed, and the streets barricaded. It isn't worth 



336 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

the men it would cost ; but I'll stay here all day to show 
these fellows how much I care for them, and go when I 
get ready. Send for your cannon and take it easy." 
This was the spirit of the man who turned a defeat into a 
victory, a few months later, because his soldiers knew 
that he would march into the very jaws of death, itself, 
rather than suffer a reverse. 

But Sheridan only remained in front of Richmond long 
enough to buy a paper from an enterprising, Virginia 
newsboy, who was indifferent to the horrors of war, and 
crossed a bridge to the Union lines. The General eagerly 
exchanged a quarter for a Richmond ^' Inquirer," and 
then ordered the troops to retreat towards Malvern Hill, 
where an army of Union troops under General Butler 
was encamped. From here the wearied cavalrymen re- 
joined Grant — with a loss of over 600 men and 300 horses. 
Lee's army had, for a time, been deprived of the use of its 
own cavalry force (its " eyes and ears," as this was called) ; 
the communications with the rear had been badly dam- 
aged; an immense quantity of supplies had been cap- 
tured ; " Jeb " Stuart, — the gallant leader of Southern 
cavalry, — had been killed ; and the spirit of the Union 
cavalry corps had been much benefited by this long, 
arduous, and severe campaign. Sheridan said, " It was 
good fun," and it had been. 

But now there was need of an energetic man in the 
Shenandoah Valley — the garden spot of Virginia — to 
stem the advance of General Early; in command of a 
large body of Confederate troops near Winchester. This 
soldier had made a raid upon Washington in August and 
had marched as near the Capital as Sheridan had been 



PHIL SHERIDAN 337 

near Richmond in his Trevihan raid ; so Grant felt that 
Sheridan should take charge of a body of troops collected 
to give him battle, and, if possible, to defeat the courageous 
Southerner. Early had thirty thousand veterans and he 
was in the midst of friends and acquaintances; in a 
country which he knew thoroughly well; and with an 
abundance of supplies and forage for both men and 
horses. He was a leader quite worthy of the mettle of the 
gallant Sheridan, and a shrewd and far-seeing campaigner. 
The old warrior was of middle-age ; tall and heavy; with 
an energetic and sturdy disposition ; while in the ranks of 
his command were many of the bravest and most intelligent 
of the Southern Generals. Sheridan had troops from Ohio, 
New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, and he, too, 
had able subordinates in the ranks. William McKinley 
and Rutherford B. Hayes — both destined to be Presidents 
of the United States — were holding minor positions 
among his troops; while Crook, Custer, Wright, and 
Torbet : warriors who have left bright names in the annals 
of the army, were also with his men. In after years Crook 
was acknowledged to be the ablest, Indian fighter in the 
West; while the impetuous Custer lost his gallant life 
in a reckless and ill-judged charge upon the followers of 
Sitting Bull — many years later — in the Valley of the 
Little Big Horn, of far western Wyoming. 

When operations were begun against the Confederate 
position the following order was sent to General Sheridan : 

" In pushing up the Shenandoah Valley, as it is ex- 
pected you will have to go there first or last, it is desirable 
that nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. 



338 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Take all provisions, forage, and stock wanted for your 
command. Such as cannot be consumed; destroy. 
It is not desirable that buildings should be destroyed — 
they should rather be protected — but the people should 
be informed that so long as an army can subsist among 
them, recurrences of these raids must be expected, and 
we are determined to put a stop to them at all hazards. 
Bear in mind the object is to drive the enemy South. 

" U. S. Grant, 
" Lieutenant-General." 

This whole country was magnificently watered by the 
Shenandoah River, and was so well adapted to raising 
grain and rearing live stock, that there was an abundance 
of subsistence for the Confederate troops. Was it a wonder, 
then, that Grant wished to cripple the enemy ? For with 
this bountiful valley to supply the troops, Early could 
keep up the fight for all time. So, — relentless and hard as 
it must be to the peaceful inhabitants, — Sheridan had to 
burn, pillage, and destroy, until a locust winging its flight 
across the once fruitful vale would find it difficult to sub- 
sist upon what he found. It was hard, indeed, but war is 
a terrible curse and its ways are not gentle. 

Sheridan found out through a Quaker schoolmistress 
of Winchester, one day, that a portion of the Confederate 
army had been ordered away to join General Lee, who 
was battling with Grant before Richmond, so he decided 
to attack, and to attack at once. For months he and Early 
had been watching each other and neither had dared to 
bring on an engagement, for each had too much respect 
for the ability of the other. On September 19th, 1864, 



PHIL SHERIDAN 339 

the peaceful valley of the Shenandoah echoed with the 
boom of cannon; the crack of the rifle; and the cheers 
of the soldiers, as the Union troops advanced against the 
lines of Confederate veterans, tv^^o miles east of Winchester. 
It was a sanguinary contest and it raged all day; but, 
as the sun sank behind the dark thunder clouds ; Sheridan 
had won, and the troops in gray retreated through the 
town to take up another strong defensive position near 
Fisher's Hill. Here they threw up formidable earth-works 
and awaited, with eagerness, the attack which they knew 
would shortly come. 

The restless and relentless Sheridan did not long leave 
them in peace, for he believed in following up one severe 
blow, with another; and that as soon as he was able 
to administer it. He therefore reformed his army with 
alacrity and sent his disabled and crippled soldiers to the 
rear. The troops were ordered to march at once upon the 
enemy, and, after two days of manceuvring, faced the 
Confederate entrenchments on the plateau of Fisher's 
Hill, where rows of well -planted artillery made it evident 
that an attack in front would be as foolhardy as the 
advance of the British troops up Bunker Hill. So Sheridan 
determined to out-flank the position at once, and, with this 
end in view, ordered General Crook's command to defile 
up the western side of the valley — through some dense 
woods — and to attack the rear of Early's troops at the 
break of day, if they could get in position without being 
discovered. 

All night the Union soldiers crept stealthily through 
the forest, and in the morning were well to the right 
of the Confederate position and hidden in the dense 



340 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

timber. At daylight they moved to the rear of Early's 
troops; and, late in the afternoon, were in a position to 
attack. They wheeled to the Eastward ; advanced upon 
the lines of the enemy ; and so completely routed the men 
of the South, that, as evening fell, the whole of Early's 
army was driven in confusion from its strong position at 
Fisher's Hill; abandoning its artillery and entrenching 
tools to their fate. All discipline and organization were 
lost, as the retreating mass rushed aimlessly from the field 
of battle; pursued for ten miles by the exultant and 
victorious Federals. 

The condition of Early's army was now deplorable, 
for not only had over twelve hundred prisoners been cap- 
tured, but twenty pieces of artillery had been taken by 
Sheridan's men. The Southern troops were shattered; 
the men were much exhausted ; and many of them were 
without shoes. On the other hand, the Union soldiers 
were exultant with success and flushed with the confi- 
dence which two brilliant triumphs could alone create; 
while the effect of this second, decisive victory was most 
encouraging to the North, and the behef became general 
that the end of this bloody war was, at last, in sight. 
But there was yet to come a rude awakening, a few months 
later, when the joy of these victories was to be turned into 
despair; and when the whole success of Sheridan's 
operations in the Valley were nearly overturned and 
brought to nothing by the incidents of a single day. 

Although pursued by the Union cavalry, Early was not 
beaten, and soon had reorganized his half-equipped army 
and marched it up the Valley again to once more retard the 
progress of Sheridan's men. He had been reinforced by 



PHIL SHERIDAN 341 

a considerable body of cavalry under General Rosser 
(called " the Saviour of the Valley ") and these became so 
bold and aggressive, that Sheridan sent his own horsemen, 
under Crook, Merritt, and Custer, to put an end to their 
aggressive tactics. The two bodies of horse met at Tom's 
Brook, and here a brilliant, cavalry battle took place, 
which near equalled that famous fight of Brandy Station 
between Stuart and Pleasanton. A chronicler of the 
period thus describes the situation : 

" The country was level and open, and the fighting on 
both sides was done in the saddle, while sabres were the 
weapons mainly used. For two hours the result of the 
conflict was in doubt; charges and countercharges on 
both sides, sometimes succeeding, and again being repulsed ; 
but, at last, while the Confederate centre held firm, the 
flanks began to waver, and, as these receded, a general 
charge along the whole front was made by the Northern 
troopers. This resulted in a complete breaking up of the 
Confederate line, and, in a few moments afterward, in a 
complete rout, when every Southern trooper put spurs to 
his horse and strove to save himself as best he could. Our 
men pursued them hotly ; and for more than twenty miles 
this wild stampede continued without a single efiort on the 
part of the enemy to rally their force, or check the pursuit. 
Three hundred prisoners; eleven pieces of artillery; and 
every ambulance and vv'agon that the enemy possessed, 
were captured and brought into our lines, and, this action — 
known as the ' Woodstock Races ' — effectually checked 
the aggressive tendencies of the Confederate cavalry, 
and cost them the good opinion of General Early to such 
a degree, that he reported to General Lee that his horse- 



342 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

men were so badly demoralized that they should be im- 
mediately dismounted." 

Shortly after this magnificent, cavalry battle General 
Sheridan decided to go to Washington in order to consult 
with the President and Secretary of War concerning the 
future conduct of the campaign. So he bade farewell to 
his troops for a few days, and hastened to the Capital 
with two military aids. He left his army at Cedar Creek 
camped on high ground, flanked on the east by a branch 
of the Shenandoah River, and a steep bluff, which rose 
high above the beautiful stream at its base. It was 
densely wooded, and, as not even a bridle path could be 
seen, it was thought that no troops could possibly approach 
the Union position from this point. The Confederate 
army, too, had been so badly whipped, that it was hardly 
expected that another attack could come. But there was 
an officer among the Southern troops — General Gordon 
— who searched every inch of the Union position with a 
field-glass and conceived the idea of carrying his own 
corps around the densely wooded bluff on the Union left, 
during the night, and of falling upon Sheridan's sleeping 
troops at daybreak. He disclosed his plan to General 
Early, and, although this officer disapproved of it, at first, 
he finally consented to allow the movement to proceed. 

In speaking of the battle that ensued, General Gordon 
has written in his Memoirs, " While I was watching 
Sheridan's position through my glass, it flashed upon me 
instantly that the expectation of General Sheridan was 
that we would attack him on his right, which was the 
only place supposed possible for the advance of an army. 
His left was protected by the Shenandoah; at this point 



PHIL SHERIDAN 343 

the mountain was very precipitous; and the river ran 
around it. There was no road at all, and the point was 
guarded only by a mere cavalry picket. 

" There was a back road running from our position 
on Fisher's Hill and I intended to send a large force under 
Lomax to attack Sheridan's right, which would make him 
believe that all our troops were there. This, I felt sure, 
would leave me free to fall upon his left, where there 
would be little resistance. My plan was to dismount our 
cavalry, attack Sheridan's cavalrymen when on foot, and 
keep them moving. I knew that we could gain a great 
victory, and although General Early and his staff were 
incredulous, I told them that if I were allowed to carry out 
my plan, we could annihilate Sheridan's army and drive 
him pell-mell out of the Valley. 

" General Early acted promptly after he once understood 
my project. The plan was submitted ; talked over ; and 
finally agreed upon. I took my command, having ordered 
the men to leave their canteens, sabres, and everything 
that could make a noise, behind ; for I knew that our only 
dependence was on absolute secrecy and in complete sur- 
prise. I found that I could get my soldiers around the 
mountain, by putting them in single file, and that the 
horses could be led along, although the venture would be 
exceedingly dangerous. The movement took all night. 
All through the hours of darkness, the silent figures crept 
to their position near the sleeping enemy, and I instructed 
my men that, as soon as they got around the mountain, 
they were to rush upon Sheridan's cavalry pickets and cap- 
ture them, if possible. They were to then put their horses 
to full speed ; ride right through the Federal camp ; firing 



344 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

their pistols to the right and to the left as they passed; 
and make directly for Sheridan's headquarters to capture 
him. I did not know that he was absent when I gave the 
order. 

" My plan carried out to a nicety, and, just about day- 
light, we were upon the Union cavalry pickets. Away they 
went, and I rushed across the river with my whole corps of 
infantry on the double-quick. The Union army broke 
into shreds; it doubled up; it snapped; it melted into 
nothingness. I was making every effort to get a mass of 
artillery into position when General Early rode up. He 
was wild with joy and beamed upon me. I exclaimed, 
' General Early, give me thirty pieces of cannon right here 
and we will destroy that army and send the fragments over 
the Potomac, for I know that the supreme moment has 
arrived.' 

"'No, No,' he said. 'We've won a great victory; 
we've done enough for one day. We'll stop here.' 

" ' But,' I answered, ' let us finish the job. It is true 
we have won a great victory ; let us complete it. We can 
do it in an hour and so destroy Sheridan's army that it will 
never show its head in the Valley again.' 

" But General Early said, no ; that the men had seen 
fighting enough and that we had won glory enough for 
one day. 

" ' Very well, sir,' I replied, ' then I will return to my 
command.' 

"And I did so; while we followed up the Federals as 
they retreated : our men jubilant and tremendously elated 
at their victory." 

Meanwhile what had happened to General Sheridan ? He 



?HIL SHERIDAN 345 

had left Washington at twelve o'clock two days before on 
a special train for Martinsburg and had reached there that 
evening with two Engineer Officers. On the following 
morning — accompanied by a cavalry escort — he started 
to ride to Winchester — about fifteen miles north of the 
battle-field at Cedar Creek — and he reached there at 
four in the afternoon. About sunset a courier arrived 
from the camp saying that all was well with the army and 
that there were no signs of any movement on the part of 
the Confederates. So Sheridan retired to well-merited 
slumber; much reassured about the condition of his be- 
loved command. 

At about six o'clock on the following morning, faint 
sounds of firing came from the direction of the troops, 
but the General supposed them to arise from a recon- 
noitering party which he had been told was to be sent out 
on that day. 

But later, the firing continued, and the deep boom of 
the cannon became so distinct that Sheridan determined 
to be at once to horse, and on his way towards the noise of 
battle. About nine o'clock he galloped in the direction 
of Cedar Creek ; mounted on his favourite, black charger ; 
Rienzi, and, as he went slowly onward, he bent his head 
over the saddle bow and Hstened intently to the sound of 
cannonading, which increased with such volume, that he 
became firmly convinced that a great battle was in prog- 
ress ; and that the Union army — his own army — was 
retreating before the onslaughts of Early's men. 

About two miles south of Winchester he came across a 
number of wounded soldiers, stragglers, and several bag- 
gage wagons; all making their way toward Winchester 
on the double-quick. 



346 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" What's the matter, boys ? " called Sheridan. " What 
are you running for ? " 

" We're licked, General," rephed a straggler. " And 
the hull, blamed army is on the dead run. Early's getting 
even with us for the two drubbings you've given him." 

What a terrible blow this must have been for Sheridan — ■ 
Sheridan, the man who had never met defeat before in his 
life — Sheridan, whose orders were never " go on," but 
" come on " and " follow me " — Sheridan, who had 
scaled the bristling sides of Missionary Ridge — who had 
almost ridden into Richmond — and who had torn the 
very heart out of the once peerless squadrons of Jeb 
Stuart. His face grew scarlet; his eyes blazed with the 
light of intense anger; and he dug his spurs hard into 
Rienzi's flanks, while the black charger thundered down 
the macadamized road which led towards the furious 
firing. 

" Go back to Winchester, immediately," he shouted 
to one of his aids. " Order all the forces there to spread 
across the valley and stop these cowards. We've got to turn 
them and turn them fast." 

Then he pushed onward and the road became so blocked 
with wagons, artillery, and retreating infantry, that he 
was obliged to ride into the fields in order to get to the 
front. The soldiers all recognized him, and every group 
that he met, cheered wildly as the black charger — now 
flecked with white foam — sped by their panic-stricken 
columns. 

" Come back," shouted Sheridan, with his cap in hand. 
" This would never have happened if I had been here. 
Come back, boys. Let us go and recover our camp. Let 
us go back." 



PHIL SHERIDAN 347 

As he spoke the soldiers faced about and turned their 
steps towards the advancing foe. The whole current of 
retreat was changed, and the army, invigorated by the 
confidence which was felt in his leadership, was, by an 
almost spontaneous impulse, ready and eager to resume 
the conflict of the morning. Cheer after cheer rose from 
the men in blue : they were infused with new life and 
determination. 

Dashing along the pike, Sheridan came upon the line of 
battle. 

" What troops are these? " he shouted. 

" The Sixth Corps," was the response from a hundred 
voices. 

" We're all right," answered the General, swinging his 
hat as he thundered along the line towards the right. 
" Never mind, boys, we'll whip them yet, we'll whip them 
yet. We shall sleep in our quarters to-night." 

Marengo; one of Napoleon the First's greatest vic- 
tories, would have been an utter defeat, had not Marshal 
Desaix come upon the bloody field when the French were 
wilting before the Austrian attack. Shiloh would have 
been a Confederate victory, had not Grant hurried to the 
rescue of Sherman's beaten forces. Fontenoy would have 
been a rout for the French, had not the Brigade of Exiles 
arrived fresh upon the field at the moment of direst distress. 
Wellington's shot-riddled squares at Waterloo would have 
been crushed by Ney's cuirassiers, had not Bliicher's 
stubborn Prussians thrown themselves upon Napoleon's 
bleeding right-flank at the close of that awful day. But 
never in the annals of warfare among civilized people 
has a retreating army ever braced itself at the sight of 



348 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

its beloved leader, as did the Army of the Shenandoah; 
and never has a force of troops, crushed, broken, and 
confused, as were these, ever turned an utter defeat into a 
glorious victory, as did the men of Sheridan's command 
by the rippling waters of the blue Shenandoah. The battle 
of Cedar Creek, on October the 19th, 1864, was unique, 
original; magnificently bold. Its story will go down to 
the ages as the most thrilling in all history. 

It was half-past ten o'clock when Sheridan reached the 
front, and quick as thought, he comprehended the whole 
scene. A small division of infantry was all that was hold- 
ing its ground against the Confederate attack, and its com- 
manding officer rode out to meet the General. " Thank 
God. You have come ! " he said with fervour. "I'm glad, 
myself, that I am here," Sheridan replied, and jumping his 
horse over a line of fence rails, he galloped to the crest of 
a hill and waved his hat. The men of the Sixth Corps 
sprang up from behind some stone fences, with which 
they had been protecting themselves, with cheers of rec- 
ognition, and, as their leader went onward, a number of 
regimental flags rose up from the ground, as it seemed, 
and around them the troops quickly gathered. They were 
now cool, and, as the Confederates did not press their 
attack, there was opportunity to reform the lines in regular 
order. "WTien this was done, the gallant Sheridan galloped 
in front of all his troops, with hat in hand, and told them 
to advance and retrieve their lost laurels. 

But the soldiers had no need of exhortations to push 
them onward. WTien all was ready — about four in the 
afternoon — they swept down upon Early's troops with 
a determination that was irresistible. The Southerners 



PHIL SHERIDAN 349 

were behind stone walls, which afforded them good pro- 
tection, but nothing could stop the onrush of Sheridan's 
men. The cavalry in the flanks charged home; the 
soldiers were beyond restraint; and, with hoarse cheers 
of defiance, the once, victorious veterans of the Southern 
army, were overwhelmed and thrown into utter confusion. 
It was a greater rout than that of the morning ; the guns 
and the ambulances which had been captured were all 
retaken ; twelve hundred prisoners fell into the hands of 
Sheridan's veterans, and, the cavalry pushed back the now 
dispirited, Confederate host, until the disorganized mass of 
fugitives found a temporary shelter behind the fortified 
lines at Fisher's Hill. The most badly whipped army 
of the war had, in turn, thrashed the victors with a ven- 
geance that was terrific. 

So ended the famous battle of Cedar Creek, which has 
made the name of Sheridan one of the most famous of all 
history. The ragged troops of General Early were so 
badly broken by the series of disasters that had overtaken 
them, that they never again presented a formidable front 
to their \ictors. The Valley had been swept clean of all 
subsistence, and they could no longer live bountifully, as 
they had done before. So, by degrees the Southern force 
melted away; some of the men returning to their farms; 
the rest rejoining the army of General Lee before Rich- 
mond. Within a period of six months the intrepid Sheri- 
dan had defeated, broken, and driven for one hundred and 
fifty miles; an army which had burned towns in Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania; had threatened Washington; 
spread consternation and dismay throughout the North ; 
and had seemed to be fully equal in numbers and courage 



350 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

to his own troops. Fully satisfied with the result of his 
untiring efforts, he now rejoined General Grant, and was 
soon engaged in pressing the army of General Lee to a 
point where it, too, had to abandon its lines of defence 
and seek safety in flight. 

General Lee was at Petersburg with the right of his line 
at Dinwiddle Court House, when Sheridan was ordered 
to endeavour to break his extended defences. He attacked 
with so much fury that the position of the Confederates 
was shaken, and their earthworks were abandoned to the 
Union advance. The artillery was of great assistance in 
this affair, and poured in a hot fire upon the enem}-, while 
the cavalry did excellent service with repeating carbines. 
General Sheridan rode along the front of his lines and 
exposed himself so freely that it is remarkable that he 
escaped without a wound, and, his men, animated by 
his presence, fought with a splendid courage. At the 
close of the day, one of the severest actions in which his 
cavalry had been engaged was brought to an end ; it 
had lasted from dawn until nightfall, and the loss in men 
and horses was great. 

This contest was soon followed by a more severe affair 
at Five Forks, which so shattered the lines of General Lee 
that he decided to retreat towards the west and south, and 
to endeavour to join his army with that of General Johnston 
in North Carolina. So on April the 3rd, 1865, the Army 
of Virginia evacuated Richmond, and the half-fed and 
badly equipped men in gray, began a dispirited retreat 
toward the Southwest. Sheridan was now the incarnation 
of energy and action. He hurried forward with his cavalry 
corps, and hastened, with all possible speed, to place him- 



PHIL SHERIDAN 351 

self in the rear of General Lee, so that he would be hemmed 
in between his troops and those of General Grant. It was 
a discouraging march for Lee. Wherever he looked he 
saw the oncoming and exultant crowds of Union soldiers, 
and whenever he stopped to rest, Sheridan's men would 
be in front of his advance guard. Like a hornet, Sheridan, 
buzzed about the disintegrating mass of Southern soldiers ; 
he captured the supplies that were expected to reach the 
army from the South; he threw himself directly in the 
path of the now disheartened troops ; and finally, on the 
eighth of April, the gallant leader of the army of the South 
saw that all avenues of escape were closed to him ; that his 
men were weary, foot-sore; half dead with fatigue and 
hunger; and so, at the little village of Appomattox, he 
capitulated to General ■ Grant. The great War of the 
Rebellion was over. 

As a matter of fact General Sheridan came near not 
surviving the war at all, and the reason for it was as follows. 
When General Lee had decided to surrender, he ordered 
General Gordon to send out an Orderly with a flag of truce 
and to inform General Grant that he was ready to treat with 
him for terms of peace. General Gordon told one of 
his men to take a flag of truce into the Union lines, but 
his soldier said, " I have no flag of truce, sir, as I have 
never supposed that I would need one. How can I go 
with such a thing? " 

" Well, take your handkerchief and tie it on a stick and 
go," replied Gordon. 

The soldier felt in his pockets, and answered : " Gen- 
eral, I have no handkerchief." 

" Then, tear your shirt and tie that to a stick, sir." 



352 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

The soldier looked at his shirt, and then at General 
Gordon. 

" General, I have on a flannel shirt," he replied, " and 
I see that you have also. I don't believe that there's 
a white shirt in the army." 

" Get something, sir," answered Gordon. " Get some- 
thing and go ! " 

So the fellow secured a rag of some sort and rode rapidly 
away towards the Union lines. He soon found General 
Sheridan and returned to General Gordon with an officer 
of strikingly, picturesque appearance, who was slender, 
graceful, and apparently a superior rider. His hair was 
long and fell almost to his shoulders. Guided by the 
Confederate soldier, this cavalier rode up to the Southern 
leader of infantry and with faultless grace and courtesy, 
saluted him with his sabre, and said : 

" I am General Custer and bear a message to you from 
General Sheridan. The General desires me to present 
to you his compliments, and to demand the immediate 
and unconditional surrender of the troops under your 
command." 

Gordon thundered, " You will please. General, return my 
comphments to General Sheridan, and say to him that I 
shall not surrender my command." 

" He directs me to say to you, General," answered 
Custer, " that he has you surrounded and can annihilate 
your command in an hour." 

To this General Gordon thundered that he was as well 
aware of the situation as was General Sheridan, and 
that if General Sheridan decided to continue the fight- 
ing in the face of the flag of truce, the responsibility 



PHIL SHERIDAN 353 

for the blood shed, would be his, and not the Confed- 
erates. 

In a short time thereafter a white flag was seen ap- 
proaching, and under it was Philip Sheridan, accom- 
panied by a mounted escort. He was riding an enormous 
horse, which was the spirited Rienzi, his famous animal. 
He rode in front of his escort, and an orderly w^as beside 
him, carrying a flag. Around General Gordon were his 
faithful sharpshooters, and as General Sheridan came up, 
and was within range of the rifles, a half-witted fellow 
raised his gun as if to fire. The Confederate leader 
ordered him to lower his gun and told him that he must 
not fire on a flag of truce; but the soldier did not obey 
his order cheerfully and held his rifle in a position for 
shooting. He had raised his rifle again, and had his hand 
upon the trigger, when Gordon caught the gun and said, 
with emphasis, 

" Put that gun down, sir. Did I not tell you not to fire 
upon a flag of truce, sir ? " 

At this the soldier protestingly obeyed. 

" Well, General, let him stay on his own side if he doesn't 
want to get hurt," he answered. 

General Sheridan never knew how close he had come 
to death, and how a half-witted fellow had nearly ended 
his days. 

A truce was soon decided upon by Lee and Grant and 
the Southern army was disbanded. Some of the soldiers 
found temporary employment near the place of surrender, 
with an old farmer who was uneducated, but loyal to the 
South. A soldier in Sheridan's army inquired about 
some squads of men which he saw working in the fields. 



354 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

" Who are those men working over there ? " he asked. 

" Them are privates, sir, in Lee's army," was the re- 
joinder. 

" Well, how do they work ? " 

" Very fine, sir ; first-rate workers," 

" Who are those in thesecond group? " 

" Them is Lieutenants and Captains, and they work 
fairly well, but not as good workers as the privates." 

" I see you have a third squad : Who are they ? " 

" Them is Colonels." 

" Well, what about the Colonels ? How do they work ? " 

" Now, neighbour," was the answer. " You'll never 
hear me say one word ag'in any man who fit in the Southern 
army; but I ain't a gwine to hire no Generals ! " 

Soon after the surrender, Sheridan was ordered to 
Washington, and immediately dispatched to Texas in 
order to take command of the troops West of the Missis- 
sippi river. He departed with a heavy heart, for he had 
hoped to take part in a grand review of the army in Wash- 
ington, and to march up the Avenue at the head of his men. 
But a man of his calibre was sorely needed in Texas ; for 
Maximilian, with a French army, occupied Mexico, and 
it was well known that he had intentions of no friendly 
nature towards the United States. So, with a large force, 
Sheridan marched to the border line between Mexico 
and the United States, which so sobered the French, that 
their army was immediately withdrawn from the frontier 
and home-rule was shortly afterwards established. Maxi- 
milian was shot, and thus ended a brilliant career, — 
ignominiously. 

After some years in New Orleans, the General was 



PHIL SHERIDAN 355 

ordered to take charge of the Department of the Missouri 
— with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas — for 
there was constant trouble with the Indians, and settlers 
were frequently attacked. His headquarters were moved 
to Fort Hays, and later to Camp Supply, in Kansas: 
a place quite near the hostile Indians, and from which his 
troops could be easily marched against them. Of the 
fight against Black Kettle in the snow-storm, when 
gallant Custer and his Seventh Cavalry won a decisive 
victory, we have given an account in the Essay upon 
General Custer. Sheridan took no active part in the 
attack, but directed the movements of the troops from 
the base of supplies, with such success, that the Indian 
disturbances were soon a thing of the past, and peace 
reigned upon the plains of Kansas and Missouri. 

While stationed at New Orleans, Sheridan had an old 
fellow attached to his command who was in a most un- 
fortunate condition. One arm was in a sling; his nose 
was disfigured by powder ; and both his legs were so badly 
crippled that he was forced to hobble along with two 
crutches. As pensions had not then been provided for the 
Union troops, he aided his scanty purse, by receiving 
such sums as passers-by were kind enough to give him. 

One day he was surprised by a dignified-looking Gentle- 
man, well-dressed and apparently a man of means, who 
came across the street and placed a twenty dollar gold 
piece in his hat. 

" Wh-y, th-a-nk you ! " stammered the cut-up private. 
" This is very k-i-nd ! " 

" Oh,* that's all right," replied the Southerner. " You 
deserve it all, for you're the first Yankee I've ever seen alive, 
who was carved up to suit me," 



356 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

War was now in progress between Prussia and France, 
and as Sheridan greatly desired to see the furious fighting 
which he knew would soon be going on, he applied for 
leave to witness the campaign. It was granted him, and 
he was soon with the German army in their march into 
France. He was recei^•ed with great courtesy by Count 
Bismarck and given every opportunity to view the great 
struggle which soon took place; he was an interested 
spectator of the battles of Beaumont and Sedan, and saw 
the first interview between the French Emperor and Bis- 
marck, which led to the capitulation of the French army. 
At the battle of Gravelotte the doughty " Little Phil " 
was returning alone from the battle-field, dressed in the 
fatigue uniform of the Union cause, when he was mistaken 
for a Frenchman by a group of Prussians. They levelled 
their muskets at him, and for a moment the venturesome 
American was in a critical situation, but, calling a Ger- 
man officer forward, he soon explained his nationality and 
was allowed to go on. From the viewpoint of a com- 
petent judge, the ex-leader of the Union Cavalry was dis- 
gusted with the mistakes of the French Generals in this 
great struggle, and freely criticized them in his memoirs ; 
attributing the German victories to the splendid roads 
over which the armies campaigned ; to the open country ; 
and to woeful lack of sense and strategy of the French. 

Not long after his return to the United States, the now 
famous General was sent to take command of the troops 
in Chicago, during the great fire which destroyed a con- 
siderable portion of the city. This was his last duty of 
a strenuous nature; although in 1876 he had direction 
of the cavalry in the Sioux Campaign of Montana and 



PHIL SHERIDAN 357 

Wyoming, where Custer lost his life at the Battle of the 
Little Big Horn. In February, 1884, he was created Lieu- 
tenant-General in charge of all the forces of the United 
States; succeeding General Sherman, who was retired 
at the age of sixty-four. His new duties required his 
residence in Washington and here he lived until his death, 
August 5th, 1888, at the age of fifty-seven years. 

Sheridan's life had been an active one; he had seen 
much service ; and he had conducted himself with honour 
and discretion. Differing from General Grant, who was 
a calm, thoughtful man; this hero was quick; impulsive; 
and active. He entered upon every duty with earnestness 
and intensity ; engaged in it with unflagging industry and 
perseverance until it was accomplished; and this trait 
did not seem to lessen as he grew older. He was not 
ambitious for poUtical preferment; and when a number 
of admirers asked him to become a candidate for President 
of the United States, he jokingly remarked : "No man 
could make me a present of that office. The place-hunters 
and office-seekers would kill me in thirty days. I could 
not stand it. I have never cared for politics." He despised 
councils of war and had as few as he could ; had the ability 
to think and act promptly ; and so held the affection and 
respect of his troops ; that they would follow him to the 
last ditch. To his subordinate officers he was considerate 
and just ; and to those whose failures resulted from want 
of energy and effort, he was most severe; and neither 
personal friendship nor previous good record would pre- 
vent the consequences of a lapse in strict attention to duty. 
He was an excellent shot and a skilled huntsman. So 
highly did the people value his services, that in June, 1888, 



358 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

when he was sinking in his last illness; Congress by a 
special act, raised him to the rank of General of the Army 
of the United States; a title which had never been con- 
ferred, except on Grant and Sherman ; and no officer has 
since received this honour. 

Sheridan was buried at Arlington — the military ceme- 
tery opposite the city of Washington — in a tomb which 
overlooks the curving Potomac, as it sweeps lazily along 
at the feet of the high cliffs. Here lie sixteen thousand of 
his comrades in the great war between the North and the 
South ; and here a solid shaft of granite marks where the 
bones of the courageous warrior have been laid to rest. 
His spirit hovers over the fields of Virginia, which echoed 
with the shout of contending armies : the clarion of the 
bugle ; the roll of the drum ; and the shock of the bursting 
shell. He sleeps in soil which once thundered to the hoofs 
of his cavalry, and where his voice cheered on the Union 
soldiers to attack and \dctory. Peace at last rests over the 
remains of Philip Sheridan — the brave and dashing 
leader of light horse — his soul has sunk to that slumber 
from which there is no awakening. 



■ 




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GKXr.RAL (;K()RGE a. CUSTER 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER: INDIAN 
FIGHTER 

THERE is no more vigorous or gallant figure in the 
history of the civilization and development of the 
United States than that of George Armstrong 
Custer. He was, by nature, a lover of all that appeals 
to the imagination and interest of every manly man. He 
was fond of horses, hounds, and the pleasures of the 
chase. As an officer he was in love with his profession 
and threw into his work the zeal and fervour of a buoyant 
and courageous spirit. Associated with the great struggle 
for the preservation of the Union between the States in 
America and with the onward march of the white settlers 
into the virgin country of the West, his name is linked 
with two of the greatest race conflicts in the history of 
our country. He knew the swamp-land of the Chicka- 
hominy River in Virginia ; he had campaigned through the 
beautiful fields of the Shenandoah Valley ; he had roughed 
it on the wide plains of Texas when outlaws and desperados 
infested the land ; he had spent nights upon the treeless 
wastes of alkalai in the far West ; he had passed through 
every experience that comes to an adventurous and 
hardy man-of-action in the United States, and he went 
down to his death fighting under the flag of his country 
in order that the advance of the emigrants to the fertile 
lands held by the Indians might be secure. 



360 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

During Custer's life there were many men who had 
hard words to say for this dashing cavalryman so prom- 
inently in the public eye. Enemies attributed his success 
to luck, and " Custer's luck " was an oft-heard expres- 
sion among brother officers in the army and individuals 
in public and civil life. Much of his success was laid to 
the door of good-fortune, for men envied him his fame. 
But his achievements were really the result of a remark- 
able capacity for severe and energetic labour, and a 
rapidity of forming estimates and plans which is seldom 
found lacking in military commanders of recognized 
merit. 

The popular idea was that he was a mere poseur and 
lover of the picturesque ; that he gave no careful attention 
to his plans and actions. He was associated in people's 
minds with men like Murat, who served under Napoleon, 
and Prince Rupert: as a tempestuous leader who was 
carried onward by foolhardy courage and reckless bravery. 
He was lauded by the war correspondents who wished 
to write soul-stirring letters, and, as he dressed with a 
certain, rakish carelessness, he was constantly pictured 
by artists on the leading papers. This led to the opinion 
that he was only an overgrown boy, and a man of shallow 
and injudicious mind. Yet the history of his life — as we 
know it to-day — proves this to be an erroneous concep- 
tion. He was certainly dashing and impetuous, but his 
actions were not for effect alone. His life would not have 
been sacrificed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, had 
not his well-made plans miscarried through the incom- 
petency of subordinates, and had certain officers in his 
command laboured with half his zeal and bravery. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 361 

Although the Colonists who fought so nobly for America 
Independence had nothing but the harshest words for 
the Hessian Soldiers who had hired themselves to the 
British Government ; the father of General Custer was a 
direct descendant of one of these self-same Hessian 
grenadiers. In 1778; General Burgoyne had ignomin- 
iously surrendered to the Americans at Saratoga, many 
of the Hessians, who had been captured, were paroled 
and set at liberty. Among them was a soldier by the name 
of Kiister who had settled in the State of Pennsylvania; 
married the bright eyed daughter of a frontiersman, and 
afterwards had moved to New Rumly, Ohio. There he 
turned farmer and was twice married. George Arm- 
strong Custer was the eldest child by this hardy frontiers- 
man's second wife. He was born December fifth, 1839, 
and had one sister and three brothers ; two of whom — 
Thomas and Boston — subsequently served with him 
in the United States service. The early life of the future 
leader of cavalry was spent upon his father's farm, and 
here he not only obtained the health and strength that 
come with country life, but also he learned to be a manly 
and hard-working boy. 

Every account that we have of General Custer shows 
him to have been a youth of overabundant health and 
animal spirits. He was sturdy, flaxen-haired, and always 
in mischief. Not a single instance of the display of ill- 
temper during his boyhood has been recorded, and his 
loving and gentle disposition has been commented upon 
by all who knew him at this period of his life. As a matter 
of course he was sent to the District School, and together 
with other rollicking youngsters, learned those three great 



362 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

trials of early boyhood, — reading, writing, and arith- 
metic. We hear that, as a scholar he was bright enough 
and intelligent, but, like many another boy we know, 
hated to study. An old schoolmate of his says that he 
never looked at a lesson when away from school, but 
would skim over his work in the few moments before 
the recitation period, and trust to his quick memory to 
successfully pilot him through the dreadful hour. 

Custer was a great lover of novels and would smuggle 
many a thrilling tale into the school-room, carefully 
hidden among his other books. During the geography- 
hour he would leave his book wide open and beneath it 
would place an interesting novel of military life — also 
wide open. The teacher of the District School was named 
Stebbins — known as " Old Stebbins " by the boys — 
and with a pair of felt slippers to deaden his footsteps, 
he would creep cautiously and noiselessly around the 
room. Should he discover any pupil with eyes and mind 
not intent upon his task, down would pounce the sly, old 
fellow, and the truant would receive a goodly spanking. 
But foxy as was " Old Stebbins," he met his match in 
the mischievous Custer, for, as he would glide stealthily 
about, he would find his youthful charge busily engaged 
in tracing the course of some river or chain of mountains, 
with his forefinger, in the Geography. With a smile of 
satisfaction to see such a diligent pupil, " Old Stebbins " 
would pass on, but no sooner was his back turned, than 
with the quickness of an Indian — up would be lifted 
the end of the book of Geography, and soon young Custer 
would be deep in the stirring scenes of war and adven- 
ture in the hidden novel, beneath. He was never caught. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 363 

As one would expect from a boy who loved tales of 
spirited adventure, Custer was very fond of rough-and- 
tumble games. He was a fine wrestler and swift runner. 
He delighted in practical jokes and was always in the 
midst of some dangerous undertaking, such as robbing 
a hawk's nest in a lofty tree, or making a moonlight raid 
upon the melon patch of some crusty farmer. Although 
he became the leader of most athletic sports, he could 
not and would not learn to swim. He disliked the water 
and would not even try to sail a boat ; for the land, and 
things on the land alone, appealed to him. Of great ten- 
derness of feeling, he was much beloved by his mother on 
account of his kindness and willingness to obey her every 
wish. A sturdy boy was this future fighter of Indians; 
kind, devoted to his father and mother; working at his 
books only by fits and starts ; very obstinate when treated 
harshly; always ready to meet the shrewd tricks of his 
schoolmaster with those still more shrewd; and a leader 
in every branch of sport that called for an exhibition of 
fortitude and courage. The man was to retain these 
same qualities to a marked degree. 

Even during his boyhood Custer seems to have had a 
longing for a military life, although at sixteen years of age 
he began to teach school in order to help out the meagre 
finances of his family. Soon the opportunity offered 
itself for securing an appointment to West Point, and 
through the kind assistance of the member of Congress 
from his district, he entered the Academy, as a cadet, in 
1857. Curiously enough the official notification of his 
appointment was signed by one against whom he was 
soon to take up arms, — Jefferson Davis : President 



364 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Buchanan's Secretary of War, and afterwards Presi- 
dent of the Southern Confederacy. His career as a 
cadet was not marked by any brilliant achievement. It 
is on record that he spent sixty-six Saturdays in doing 
extra guard duty in punishment for various offences 
against discipline, and, when the time for graduation 
arrived, it was found that he had received lower marks 
than any other member of the class. His term at the 
Academy certainly ended inauspiciously, for, at the out- 
break of the Civil War, he was under sentence for pun- 
ishment and was to be tried by Court Martial. 

The manner in which he had come to grief was as char- 
acteristic as it was reprehensible. As officer of the guard, 
he was one day making the rounds of inspection, and 
came across two cadets who had fallen out and were 
angrily talking. From words, they soon came to blows, 
and had begun to have a preliminary, sparring match. 
A crowd collected and a few endeavoured to stop the 
fighting. It was plainly Custer's duty, as officer of the 
guard, to arrest the two angry cadets. But instead of 
doing this, he pushed his way through the crowd, and, 
seizing one of those who was endeavouring to put an end 
to the bout, called out : 

" Stand back, boys ! Let's have a fair fight ! " 
This remark was heard by Lieutenants Hazen and Mer- 
ritt — both of whom were afterwards associated with 
him in the Army of the Potomac — and he was imme- 
diately placed under arrest for breach of discipline. Thus 
he was kept at West Point while all the other members 
of his class — except those who had resigned to join the 
Southern army — were sent to Washington in order to 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 365 

take positions of responsibility in the force gathered to 
the defence of the Northern states. To Washington 
he was summoned — only after the intervention of his 
friends — and it was certainly a rapid change for the 
prisoner of West Point, when, in three days' time, he 
found himself commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 
army under General McDowell (then near Centreville, 
Virginia) and riding from W^ashington with dispatches 
for the General in Command. These he carried safely 
to the Northern Army arriving just in time to participate 
in the First Battle of Bull Run. Here the Union cavalry 
had little part, and, although not active in the actual 
fighting of that day; in the rush and the melee of the 
frantic retreat that followed; Custer's company was one 
of the last to retire. 

In the four years of conflict that followed the first clash 
of arms near the slow-moving and muddy water of Bull 
Run, Custer conducted himself with great bravery and 
distinction. Although his name is prominent in this 
great war, it is rather with the frontier and with the ad- 
vance of the white settlers into the West, that we associate 
him. But his record during the Civil War is one that 
alone would have made him distinguished, for here it 
was that he made a great reputation as a daring but 
somewhat reckless horseman. Like " Jeb " Stuart, the 
Southern leader of cavalry, it was his delight to dress in 
gay colours. A great, red scarf was usually wound about 
his deck; he wore a broad, felt hat beneath which his 
yellow hair hung down upon his shoulders; his uniform 
was frequently adorned by a prodigious amount of gold 
braid ; and once he was rash enough to wear a red flannel 



366 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

shirt. No one was more impetuous than he in the charge, 
and, although he risked himself with perfect abandon 
in every engagement, he seemed to bear a charmed life, 
for no bullet ever harmed him. 

Transferred to Grant's army in the last year of the 
war, Custer was with Sheridan at Five Forks and was 
active in the pursuit of Lee's army to Appomattox. He 
was present at the surrender of the Confederate forces, 
and, with his devoted followers, was allowed to partici- 
pate in the grand review^ of the Army of the Potomac on 
the 23rd and 24th of May, 1865, in the city of Washington. 
It was a proud moment for the Boy General when, with 
the Third Division of Cavalry, he passed the Grand 
Stand ; for in six months, he and his command had taken 
one hundred and eleven Confederate cannon, sixty-five 
battle flags, and over ten thousand prisoners of war; 
while not one of their own flags had been captured, nor 
had a single gun fallen permanently into the hands of the 
enemy. 

An incident which occurred on the afternoon of that 
day will illustrate the great regard with which General 
Custer was held by his soldiers. The Third Cavalry 
Division had camped on the outskirts of Washington, 
where the troopers were drawn up in a proper alignment in 
order to take a last farewell of their flaxen-haired Com- 
mander, and his staff. In him they had perfect confidence. 
He had led them to victory in many a hard fought con- 
test, he had cared for them in adversity and he had cheered 
them on in time of victory. Often he had risked him- 
self in the charge at their head, and there was no danger 
and privation they had endured of which he had not had 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 367 

his share. No wonder, then, that as he rode down the 
line of veteran troops, he was greeted with a great cheer 
of enthusiastic approbation. Before the hurrahing was fin- 
ished a fresh voice shouted out : " A tiger for Old Curley ! " 
The cheer that arose was so loud that the spirited steed 
which the General rode became excited and almost un- 
manageable, w^hile the commander of this splendid body 
of horse tried ineffectually to check the tears that welled 
to his eyes. The Ofhcers then gathered around their 
leader and sorrowfully wrung his hand, while again the 
troopers sent up a cheer, this time for the wife of General 
Custer. He had married her during the winter that pre- 
ceded the surrender of Lee's army and she had devotedly 
followed him through the closing campaign of the 
war. 

Although the battles were now at an end and the 
Northern soldiers, who had returned to their homes, 
were receiving every honour which the grateful citizens 
could confer upon them, there was to be no rest for the 
leader of the disbanded Third Division of Cavalry. The 
Powers of Europe had looked with envious eyes at the 
growing might of the new Republic across the seas, for, 
hoping to build up a rival country to the south of the re- 
united states, they had placed an Austrian Prince, Max- 
imilian of name, upon the throne of Mexico. It was 
agreed that this country should be ceded to France in 
order that a competing power might counterbalance 
the might of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. 
So Custer was ordered to Texas, at once, where he was 
placed in command of a large force of cavalry, whose 
presence was sufficient warning to Maximilian to keep 



368 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

his hands off the southern boundary of the United States, 
or else to expect war. Here Custer's duties were light 
and rough pleasures were many. The planters were fond 
of hunting and many a good day's sport was shared by the 
young officer and his friendly neighbours, in coursing 
jack-rabbits and deer with huge, shaggy, stag-hounds. 
These were bred for hunting in that sparsely settled 
country, where there was an abundance of game to try 
the skill of both horseman and hound. 

The anticipated trouble with Mexico was soon over. 
The civil authorities in the great State of Texas began 
to be perfectly able to carry out the laws of the land with 
justice and lack of friction, so it was considered unwise 
to keep such a large force of cavalry in the State. General 
Custer was therefore ordered north, and, after a few 
months of idleness he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel 
of the Seventh Cavalry, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, 
then a frontier post within ten miles of the Kansas Pacific 
Railroad, which was being constructed as far as Denver, 
Colorado. It was to be the duty of the General and his 
troopers to guard the engineers from attacks of Indians 
while laying the road-bed of the steel rails which were 
to stretch as far as the Rocky Mountains and ultimately 
to the Pacific coast. 

This was in October, 1866. Certainly the wheel of 
fortune had turned swiftly with this youthful leader of 
cavalry. Already, when still under thirty years of age, 
he had witnessed the sanguinary and bloody fighting in 
the great Civil War in America : he had been present at 
more fatal engagements than most men of his age: he 
had escaped injury by many a hair-breadth, and now he 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 369 

was to enter a life of incessant danger, a life more exacting, 
and filled with far greater peril than these earlier years. 
The West was then a wild land into which few settlers 
had penetrated. Savage bands of Indians ranged over 
the prairie lands of the central portion of the United 
States. They were rich in ponies and buffalo robes and 
hated the white settlers who came to spoil them of what 
they considered to be their rightful hunting grounds. 
The buffalo ranged upon the prairie in enormous herds. 
According to the statement of competent authorities, 
there were over ten millions which wandered as far north 
as the Dakotas and Montana in summer, and in winter, 
as far south as Texas. All the wide prairic-land of Kansas, 
Nebraska and Colorado was covered with traces of the 
American bison. Their trails — • or ruts — made by 
thousands of their number walking behind one another 
in single file, crossed the prairies in every direction. Wher- 
ever water was to be found these trails (often so deep that 
a rider had to jump his horse in order to get across) led 
away for miles on every side. The white and bleached 
skulls of dead buffalo covered the plain, for the wolves 
and skin-hunters made great havoc among their numbers, 
and, as the railroad advanced and white settlers poured 
in upon the land to take up dwellings, the lumbering 
beasts were slaughtered by the thousands. They were 
essentially made for a time when the ruder arts of the 
Indian tribes held sway over America and before the 
plough and the rifle brought Eastern civilization to the 
fertile plains. From the buffalo the Sioux, the Cheyennes 
and the other Indian tribes made their dress and the cov- 
erings for their tepees. Their flesh was the Indians' 



370 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

food, their bones furnished him with household utensils, 
and their skin was his covering from the elements. 

To a man as full of life and exuberant health as Custer, 
the wild life on the plains was most enjoyable. The wide 
sweep of the prairie, the strange beasts and birds with 
which the land was populated, and the constant danger 
from attacks of hostile Indians was sufficient to keep a 
person of his war-like and danger-loving temperment con- 
tinually on his mettle. At the post were his stag-hounds 
and grey hounds used for coursing coyotes and jack- 
rabbits, a sport which both he and his officers greatly en- 
joyed when not engaged in active operations against the 
unfriendly savages. There were many bands of elk and 
antelope upon the prairie, and these — with the wild 
buffalo — furnished ample sport for the rifle. Custer 
thoroughly enjoyed the hunting, and, although seemingly 
brutal and fond of the dangers incident to a warlike and 
sporting life, the following incident bears ample testimony 
to the kindly spirit that shone beneath the apparently 
hardened exterior of the General. One day, when riding at 
the head of the column, he saw the nest of a meadow-lark 
with the small nestlings inside, hidden below him in the 
grass. Without a word of comment, or without giving a 
single command to those about him, he carefully guided 
his horse around the brood and again resumed the straight 
path of the march. There were several hundred cavalry- 
men in the command, and when each detachment came to 
the place where their general had swerved, the soldiers 
made a detour, for, looking upon the ground, the troopers 
saw the reason for their leader's action. It was no wonder 
that the men loved this courageous and tender-hearted 
chieftain. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 371 

During the five years that followed General Custer's ap- 
pointment to the command of troops in the West, he was 
many times engaged in fights with the Indians, in all of 
which he came off victorious. His greatest battle was 
that fought at the Washita River, near Antelope Hills, 
in the Indian Territory, on November 27th, 1868, against 
the combined fighting men of the Cheyenne, Kjowa, and 
Arapahoe tribes. Satana, Black Kettle, and Little Raven, 
the Indian leaders — had been instrumental in stirring 
up their followers to commit outrages against the white 
settlers of Kansas. They had made many depredations, 
burned many homes, and murdered a great number of 
women and children. To punish them, a winter campaign 
against the hostiles was commenced early in November, 
1868, in which Custer, with his " Fighting Seventh," was 
attached to General Sheridan's command. With a con- 
siderable body of infantry and a large amount of supphes, 
Sheridan marched to the borders of the country ravaged by 
the Indians and estabhshed a post which he named Camp 
Supply. In the midst of a severe storm, orders were issued 
to Custer to move against the Indians at five o'clock in 
the morning. It was the twenty-seventh of November, 
and, as the Seventh Cavalry cheerfully turned out in the 
early morn. General Sheridan — w^ho was to remain be- 
hind with the infantry and wagons — called out to Gen- 
eral Custer and asked him what he thought of the snow 
and the storm. " It's all the better for us," said Custer, 
cheerily. " We can move in it, and the Indians cannot." 
So leaving all superfluous baggage and ammunition be- 
hind, the half-frozen band of nine hundred men started 
out in a blinding snowstorm to find the Indians and attack 



372 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

them before they were aware of the presence of the United 
States soldiers. All day they floundered through the 
snow, and at night-fall, made camp in some timber near 
the bed of a creek. The officers and men scraped away 
holes in the snow in which to sleep. They dined on the 
carcass of a half frozen buffalo which they had discovered 
hidden in a clump of bushes near the spot, and, stumbling 
across the quicksands of a river, found the Indian trail on 
the other side. The few wagons that the soldiers had with 
them were ordered to remain here, and only such rations 
and forage that could be carried was taken along ; includ- 
ing one hundred rounds of ammunition for each trooper. 
Guided by two trusty Indian scouts, next day, the sol- 
diers floundered through the heavy snow, and, as every 
mile was passed, the Indian sign became more plain. 
By hiding under the banks of a stream, fires were lighted 
which could not be seen by the hostiles, and here the 
troopers spent a cold and comfortless, second night. 
But next day the ashes of an Indian fire were discovered, 
and, shortly afterwards, one of the scouts — who was 
well in the front — heard the bark of a dog. Then through 
the drifting snow came the cry of a small, Indian child 
and they knew that the Indian camp was near. The 
command crept stealthily onward and that night the sol- 
diers posted themselves silently in a circle around the 
village, where they snatched a few moments of slumber 
in the snow. At dawn the band struck up Custer's fa- 
vourite tune, " Garry O Wan," and, with a cheer, the sol- 
diers dashed in upon the sleeping village. The Indians 
were taken completely by surprise. The warriors fled to 
the woods where they defended themselves with great 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 373 

stubbornness and courage behind trees, logs, and the banks 
of a stream. Many of the squaws and children fought 
like the warriors, and, running in and out between the 
tepees, fired with deliberate aim from the openings in the 
wigwams. While the fighting was going on, some gath- 
ered in groups and sang dirges with a slow, monotonous 
wail, for they were sure that their last hour had come. 

But resistance was useless. The village ; fifty squaws and 
children that had remained in the lodge during the fight ; 
and eight hundred horses; were captured. After they 
had been secured it was deemed advisable to burn the 
village and shoot all the ponies except those which were 
absolutely needed for the captives to ride on, and, as it 
was Custer's wish to cripple the Savages as far as he was 
able, fire was apphed to the tepees. But before they were 
entirely consumed, the soldiers were furiously attacked 
by a band of Cheyennes from a village near-by. They 
stood these off handsomely, and next morning made a feint 
to the rear of this fresh enemy which was most successful, 
for, believing that they were to be surrounded, the Chey- 
ennes fled and the victorious Seventh Cavalry marched 
back unmolested to their joyful comrades at Camp Sup- 
ply. Thus ended the battle of the Washita, one of the 
bravest and most daring fights in the history of Indian 
warfare and a credit to the courageous soldiers who wore 
the blue uniform of the Government service. It was by 
far the most vigorous blow struck against the Indians of 
the south-western frontier and was of such beneficial 
effect, that the Cheyennes and allied tribes looked upon 
the white man in a nev\' light. Never again did they show 
the same warlike disposition towards the settlers of their 
hunting grounds. 



374 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

The Seventh Cavalrymen remained on the Kansas 
frontier for five years and were frequently engaged in 
small conflicts with the Indians, who now seemed to be 
well frightened by the summary punishment that had 
been inflicted upon them. After a portion of ground had 
been allotted to these savages for a reservation, they took 
up a life of a semi-civilization without causing any further 
disturbance of a serious nature. So quiet were they that 
Custer was ordered to Kentucky for two years, where he 
spent some time in writing a series of articles about his 
experiences, for an Eastern fiiagazine. In the spring of 
1873 he was billeted to Lakota and again put in command 
of the Seventh Cavalrv. This was joyful news to him, 
for the true cavalryman feels that his life should be in the 
open and in constant action, and he was restless under 
the restraint of barrack-duty, in spite of the fact that con- 
stantly with him was his devoted wife, who shared the 
privations, hardships, and rough pleasures of a frontier ex- 
istence. To her we are indebted for a most truthful 
picture of the life of a cavalry regiment in camp and in 
active service. A series of volumes from her pen will ever 
remain to posterity as a truthful picture of the perils and 
suffering that had to be endured before the middle West 
was safe for civilized people. To a man, the officers who 
served under General Custer (now Lieutenant-Colonel, 
but always spoken of with the brevet title conferred upon 
him in the Civil War) admired and respected her. She 
did much to attach the soldiers of her husband's command 
to him, and to inspire them with that esprit-de-corps, 
without which, no body of troops, no citizen, or nation, 
can properly fight the battles of civilization. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 375 

In May the Seventh Cavalry was encamped at Fort Rice 
far up the Missouri River in North Dakota. Here it was 
joined by other detachments, until a body of sufficient 
strength was assembled to escort and protect the engi- 
neers and surveyors of the Northern Pacific Railroad who 
were spanning the Continent with a Hne parallel to the 
Union Pacific in the centre of the United States. Curi- 
ously enough among the members of this surveying party 
was a General Rosscr, who had fought against Custer 
years before in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Rosser 
had been in the same class with Custer at West Point and 
had resigned at the outbreak of the war to join the Con- 
federate Army. He and the Boy General had often got 
possession of each other's wagons and private baggage in 
the varying fortunes of war. In fact so frequently did these 
two soldiers meet in the campaigns of the Shenandoah 
Valley, that they became accustomed to write short notes 
to one another. These they would leave at the house of 
some Southern farmer along the road of march. " Dear 
Friend," one would write, " You made my boys hustle 
to-day, but wait until next week and I will square up the 
account. Please give my best wishes to your sharp- 
shooters for putting a ball through my hat." Once Custer 
captured Rosser's coat. He left a note for him in an apple 
tree which read, " Direct your tailor to make your coat- 
tails shorter, next time, for they get in my way when I 
gallop my horse." Yet here, in the far West, the old ene- 
mies met again and talked over the Valley campaigns 
with great enjoyment and friendly interest. 

The march of the Yellowstone Expedition was west- 
ward, up the valley of the river. As the country was so 



376 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

rough and hilly that it afforded full protection to hostile 
Indians, Custer would go ahead of the surveying column 
with a small detachment of cavalry, in order to fight off 
any foes, and in the endeavour to find the most suitable 
road for the train. The land was wild, picturesque, and 
the air dry and stimulating. Bands of antelope were fre- 
quently encountered as they grazed upon the sweet grass 
in the valleys, and now again the tracks of bear, elk, and 
buffalo were seen. All progressed in a favourable manner 
until August 4th, when Custer and an advance party of a 
hundred men were fired upon by a small band of Indians 
after they had stopped at a grove of trees, near the mouth 
of the Tongue River. The savages had first endeavoured 
to stampede the horses which were grazing on the prairie 
near-by, but their designs were frustrated by two troopers 
who rode out in time to drive the animals towards the 
grove of trees ; well out of harm's way. 

With twenty men Custer now made a charge upon the 
hostiles, who speedily retreated and rode beyond range of 
the well-directed rifle shots. Thus a running fight was 
kept up for about two-and-a-half miles, when the Indians 
halted behind an embankment, and awaited the advance 
of the rest of the command, Custer led his men on with a 
cheer, when suddenly, three hundred mounted savages — 
v/ho had been hidden in a thick wood — rode out into view 
and began to circle around the small bunch of cavalry- 
men, shouting their war cries and discharging their rifles 
from the backs of their small ponies. Custer's men dis- 
mounted immediately and gave the Indians several volleys 
from their carbines. The fire was too hot for the savages, 
who retreated into the woods, while the United States 
cavalrymen anxiously awaited reinforcements. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 377 

Soon the rest of the party came up, and, as the ground 
upon which they stood was decidedly unfavourable for 
fighting, Custer ordered a retreat into the woods near the 
Tongue River. Here the horses were hidden in the dense 
cover, while the troopers formed a semi-circular line 
around them, utilizing a natural hillock as a breast-work 
and fortifying it with fallen trees and bushes. The Indians 
came up with much courage, but several of their numbers 
were killed. They apparently did not relish the position 
of their foe and retired to a safe distance, where the grass 
was set on fire in order to burn out the troops; but for- 
tunately the underbrush was too green to get alight, and 
their design was unsuccessful. Shortly afterwards the 
main column arrived. With fresh horses and a larger force, 
Custer now led a charge upon the Indians, who recognized 
the inequality of the contest and galloped away. They 
were hotly pursued for miles, but their superior knowledge 
of the country enabled them to escape capture. 

There were two citizens attached to this expedition who 
were allowed much greater liberty than the soldiers, for 
they were not enlisted men. It was their custom to ride 
much alone. Again and again they were warned that 
some day they would come dangerously near being killed 
and scalped if they thus recklessly exposed themselves. 
One was the Veterinary Surgeon and the other the Sutler, 
and, as had been prophesied, when well in advance of the 
column, one day, and while stopping to water their horses ; 
they were shot at by some Indians concealed in a gully. 
The Sutler's horse was pierced by a well-directed bullet 
and carried him some distance before he fell to the ground, 
where he pinned his rider in such a position that he could 



378 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

not get up. He was not quite dead when a cruel savage, 
called Rain-in-the-Face, galloped up to him and beat out 
his last breath with a stone mallet. The Indian then shot 
his body full of arrows and rode over to the Surgeon, who 
had hidden in some bushes, and who held up his hands, 
indicating that he wished peace. As Rain-in-the-Face 
rode up to him, the young man gave his hat to the Savage, 
as a token of submission. But the relentless Indian paid 
no attention to this, but shot him with his rifle and pierced 
his dead body with arrows. 

A week after this horrible affair a large Indian trail was 
discovered, which led up the Yellowstone River. Anxious 
to wreak summary vengeance on the Indians, Custer 
started in hot pursuit of the war-like Sioux and followed 
their tracks, which led to the Big Horn River, and there 
crossed to the opposite bank, where the Indians had 
made camp. The river was too deep for fording, so Cus- 
ter was forced to remain upon his own side of the water- 
course during the night. In the morning the Sioux could 
be seen preparing for battle. Their leader. Sitting Bull, 
was not at all afraid of the white soldiers, and crossed 
the river with five hundred warriors in canoes to strike 
the hostile column ; while the squaws and children climbed 
upon the high bluffs to see the complete triumph of their 
fathers, brothers, and husbands. They expected to an- 
nihilate the white men. 

A skirmish was carried on for some time, which held 
the Indians in check, in spite of their superiority in num- 
bers. Custer finally ordered his men to charge, and, as 
they galloped forward, the Sioux fled precipitously to the 
river. Custer's horse was shot under him and four troopers 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 379 

were killed, which bore evidence of the poor marksman- 
ship of the braves. These, for the most part, escaped to 
their own camp and made off, but, their losses in dead 
and wounded were considerable ; so considerable, in fact, 
that they were frightened into peace and no longer mo- 
lested the advancing whites. The expedition continued 
on its way; made a rough map of the country; and then 
returned to Fort Rice, where General Custer found an 
order assigning him to the command of Fort Lincoln, on 
the Missouri River, opposite the town of Bismarck, North 
Dakota. 

There was very little active campaigning with the 
Indians during the next year. In the summer of 1874 the 
Seventh Cavalry formed a portion of a column of twelve 
hundred troops that escorted a corps of Scientists into the 
Black Hills, Dakota. This was then an unexplored coun- 
try and thought to be far richer in silver and gold than 
has since been discovered. The Indians did not molest 
the troops, and, after a considerable part of these wilds 
had been explored and mapped, the Expedition returned 
to Fort Lincoln. 

During the winter a scout by the name of Charley Rey- 
nolds was at the Standing Rock Indian Agency, near-by. 
There he heard an Indian, who was drawing his ammuni- 
tion, blankets, and rations from the United States Gov- 
ernment, openly boasting of the murder of the Sutler and 
Veterinary Surgeon of the Yellowstone Expedition. It 
was the cruel Rain-in-the-Face ; one of the craftiest and 
most heartless of the Uncapapa Sioux. This intelligence 
was brought to Custer's men, where it created such great 
indignation, that it M'as decided to capture the dangerous 



380 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

Savage. With this object in view a command of cavalry 
was dispatched to the Agency with orders to arrest the 
murderer of the two defenceless men. The detail, consist- 
ing of a hundred troopers, arrived just as the Indians were 
drawing their rations of beef. As five hundred of them 
were at the Agency, armed with long-range rifles, it was 
important that the object of this visit should not be known 
to the warriors. 

The soldiers were in charge of Captain Yates and 
Lieutenant Tom Custer — the General's brother — and, 
in order to avert any suspicions of their real intention, 
fifty men were dispatched to another camp, near-by, in order 
to inquire for three Indians who had attacked some citi- 
zens, during the past year, at a place called Red River. 
Lieutenant Tom Custer was ordered to go to the Trader's 
Store with five picked men. Their delicate task was to 
find and capture Rain-in-the-Face among the crowd of 
Sioux who congregated there. WTien they arrived, they 
could not find their man, but, after a while, one of the 
Indians lowered his blanket from his eyes, and Tom 
Custer saw the features of the warrior for whom he 
searched. Advancing upon him, from the rear, he sud- 
denly made a spring; threw his arms around him; and 
seized the Winchester rifle that he carried. Bitter hatred 
and revenge showed itself in the eyes of the savage as he 
struggled to free himself, while the other Indians crowded 
about him, gesticulating wildly, and threatening the sol- 
diers with their guns and knives. But they could not 
frighten the cavalrymen, who held on to him until a 
Captain appeared with more soldiers, and persuaded 
the Indians — by means of an interpreter — to let him 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 381 

take Rain-in-the-Face away in peace, for he told them that 
he was the murderer of defenceless men and that he 
would receive the same treatment as a white murderer. 
They were eventually persuaded that he would receive 
kind treatment until brought to trial, and so they de- 
parted to their camps, without attacking the captors of 
this savage warrior. 

Rain-in-the-Face was taken to Fort Lincoln and kept 
in confinement in a stockade with a citizen who had been 
caught stealing grain in the store-house. As the soldiers 
gradually relaxed their careful watch on the prisoners, 
one night the white man and Indian escaped. They 
were attached together with a chain, which they broke, 
and then cut their way out through the wooden wall. 
Rain-in-the-Face made his way to the camp of Sitting 
Bull : the famous Sioux Chieftain who had sworn that 
he and his followers would never go to a Reservation. 
In the Spring of 1874 he sent word — through an Agency 
Indian — that he was waiting for his revenge on Lieuten- 
ant Tom Custer, and he swore that, when they next met, 
he would cut out his heart. 

The Government again and again endeavoured to 
make a treaty with Sitting Bull, with whom Rain-in-the 
Face had allied himself. But the self-reliant Chief was 
defiant in his attitude towards all the envoys who came to 
him, and constantly attacked the white settlers who were 
beginning to take ranches on the frontier. Besides this, 
he frequently trespassed on the land of the peaceable 
Crows; attacked their villages; and stole their ponies 
and cattle. These Indians appealed to the Government 
to aid them in driving oft" the marauders, and were so 



382 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

persistent in their request, that in 1876 a Spring campaign 
was inaugurated against the Sioux. The troops were to 
be directed by General Terry, who was to be aided by 
separate detachments under Gibbon, Crook, and Custer. 

With his beloved Seventh Cavalry, General Custer 
marched from Rosebud Landing on the Yellowstone River, 
j\Iontana, on June the twenty-second, and with him bore 
instructions from General Terry of a very unspecific 
character. He was ordered to proceed up the Rosebud 
River in pursuit of the Sioux Indians, whose trail had re- 
cently been discovered by Major Reno of Custer's com- 
mand; to follow the tracks until he found out definitely 
where the trail led ; and then bear over to the left, if he 
found that the Indians had travelled towards the Litde 
Big Horn Mountains, so that they could not escape South- 
ward. He was to be followed by Gibbon's column of 
infantry, which was to move to the forks of the Big and 
Little Horn rivers, and from this point co-operate with 
Custer's cavalry in an attempt to surround the Indian 
camp. The supply steamer was to be sent to the forks 
of the two rivers, and to this point Custer was to return 
when his rations gave out. 

On June 22nd, 1876, General Custer marched his col- 
umn twelve miles up the Rosebud River, and on the day 
following, made thirty-three miles. At the close of this 
march Indian signs began to be discovered and the sol- 
diers knew, by the pony-tracks in the soil, that a great 
number of Indians had recently gone by. As it looked as 
if there were at least two-thousand, every-one in the com- 
mand became greatly excited, for now a battle with the 
hostiles became a question, not of days, but of hours. On 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 383 

June the 24th the column was marched twenty-eight miles 
and then was halted while scouts were sent out in advance 
to try and find the Indian village. This was discovered in 
the valley of the Little Big Horn, on the left bank of the 
river, where the lodges of the Sioux were stretched along 
the stream for five miles. Custer called his officers to- 
gether and told them of the discovery, saying that in order 
to attack the village it would be necessary to cross the 
range of hills between the Rosebud Valley, in which they 
now were, and the valley of the Little Big Horn. He 
stated that this he intended to do at night-fall in order 
that he would not be discovered by the vigilant Sioux. 

There had been some question as to the advisability of 
attacking the Indians at all, for Custer knew that they 
were in greatly superior numbers and were well-armed. 
He had no definite instructions to attack, for his orders 
read that : " the Department Commander places too 
much confidence in your zeal, energy, and ability, to wish 
to impose upon you precise orders which might hamper 
your action when nearly in contact with the enemy." It 
must be acknowledged, however, that a fight was expected 
of him, if, in his judgment, he could be successful. At 
this time he was not in high favour with the authorities at 
Washington, for he was smarting under restrictions that 
had been put upon his movements by those in high, mili- 
tary position. He had even had some difficulty with Gen- 
eral U. S. Grant : then President and Commander-in-Chief 
of the army, and was, doubtless, delighted to have the 
opportunity of fighting the Indians alone, without the aid 
of Gibbon's infantry column three days' march behind. 
It is apparent that he was stimulated by the anticipation 



384 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

of a victory which would illuminate his already brilliant 
career and reinstate him, once more, in the favour of those 
with whom he was in disfavour. Undoubtedly a more 
careful officer would have waited for reinforcements, but 
Custer was impetuous and daring. In spite of the great 
numbers of Indians (and he believed that there were three 
thousand in all) he considered the Seventh Cavalry to be 
invincible, as they had never yet been defeated in an Indian 
battle. The man's impulsive nature led him on to his 
doom. 

The Seventh Cavalry resumed its march and began to 
cross the divide at eleven o'clock that night. Three hours 
later the Indian scouts came back and reported that it 
was too dark to find the trail and that the pass could not 
be crossed until daylight. So the soldiers were halted; 
coffee was boiled ; and, at five in the early morning, the 
march was resumed. About eight o'clock some Sioux 
horsemen were discovered, who galloped towards the 
hostile camp. Thus, all hope of a surprise was at an end. 

Without further consultation with his officers, Custer 
determined to march, at once, upon the village. At the 
battle of the Washita — in the snow-storm — he had di- 
vided his force and been successful Why not here? 
Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo because he divided 
his army and sent General Grouchy to chase Bliicher, 
who eluded him, but General Lee had divided his forces 
at Chancellorsville and been successful. Even here il 
might have been a successful method of attack, had 
Major Reno, with troops M, A, and G, been more ag- 
gressive in his advance. 

The plan of the battle was as follows. Major Reno, 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 385 

with his three companies, was to separate from Custer 
and move down the left bank of the Little Big Horn 
River. The Indian camp was on that side, and he was to 
fight his way, if possible, right into the heart of the village, 
while Custer, with five troops — in all about two hundred 
and fifty men — was to fall upon the village from the 
right bank of the river, after fording the stream. Colonel 
Bcnteen, with three troops, was to swing far to the left of 
Reno and beat off any Indian in that direction, while Cap- 
tain McDougall — with one troop — was left behind to 
escort the pack train. By this plan of action Custer hoped 
not only to defeat the Indians, but to capture the whole 
band ; for it was a duplicate of his attack at the Battle of 
the Washita. Let us see how well his designs were carried 
out. 

Major Reno moved, with the companies assigned to 
him, over to the left of the valley. Benteen's column gal- 
loped away, out of sight, and parted with Custer, as he 
swung over to the right of the Little Big Horn. Accom- 
panied by some of the scouts, Reno forded the stream, 
and charged forward upon the gallop in the direction of 
the Indian village. As he came in sight of the lodges, the 
Sioux appeared to he taken by surprise, at first; then 
ran to their tepees; massed themselves in his front; and 
began to pour a hot fire into his command. Had Reno 
pressed forward, all would have been well, for he found 
out, long afterwards, that the savages were greatly sur- 
prised at his appearance, as the Sioux horsemen, seen 
that morning, had just come into camp. As a matter of 
fact, the Indians were decidedly demoralized by the charge, 
and, had he kept on and furiously assaulted the village, 



386 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he could, no doubt, have stampeded the camp, while 
Custer, on the right bank, would have united with him. 
But Reno did not press the attack. On the contrary, he 
dismounted his men to fight on foot and stood the Indians 
off at long range. With this show of apparent fear, the 
Sioux and Cheyenne warriors became much bolder ; they 
advanced to close quarters with his command ; kept up a 
vigorous firing, and crept around upon his flanks. Reno 
said afterwards that the Indians outnumbered him five 
to one, and, seeing no signs of Custer's support, at the 
time, he was afraid to go ahead, as he feared that he 
would be surrounded and annihilated. 

The fire of the Sioux now became more accurate, as they 
worked around to Reno's rear, so he decided to withdraw 
before they could cut him off from some tall bluffs behind 
him. Ordering a retreat to these ; the soldiers fell back in 
good form; and, as is always the case when white men 
retreat before Indians, the savages became very bold. 
They pulled more than one trooper from his horse before 
they reached the bluffs, with a loss of three officers and 
twenty-nine men. Here the troops stood off the Indians 
very successfully until joined by Benteen's three com- 
panies and McDougall, with the pack train; when the 
savages lessened their fire. Benteen had given up his 
flanking movement on the left, as he had seen no Indians 
there, and had begun to return to the spot where he left 
Custer, when he was met by two orderlies with messages 
for himself and McDougall, which read, " Come on. Be 
quick. Bring Packs," written and signed by Lieutenant 
Cook, Adjutant of the Regiment. This was the last order 
sent bv General Custer, 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 387 

Reno grew more courageous after he had been joined 
by Benteen, and, hearing nothing of Custer, he moved his 
men down the river in the direction of the village, keeping 
to the top of the bluffs. The troops now heard firing in the 
direction of the camp and knew it must be Custer. So the 
command was shifted to a high bluff, in the endeavour to 
see what was happening below in the valley. This was 
the time for Reno to have again charged, for, although the 
Indians were keeping up a steady fire from the under- 
brush, and appeared to be in considerable numbers ; they 
really were not. Reno did attempt to break through to 
the column, and sent Captain Weir, with his company, 
to open communications with Custer ; but the brave Cap- 
tain, although making a bold advance, soon came back, 
and stated that he could not proceed into the valley as 
the Indians surrounded him with overwhelming numbers. 
Reno then ordered the whole command back to the first 
position on the bluff's, which seemed to be the best for de- 
fence. The men were told to dismount; the horses and 
mules of the pack train were driven into a depression; 
and the soldiers were stationed on the crests of the hills. 
Hardly had this been done when they were furiously at- 
tacked by large numbers of the Indians. This was about 
six in the evening, and a battle — in which eighteen troops 
were killed and forty-six wounded — waged until nine 
o'clock. 

By this time Reno was well aware of the overwhelming 
numbers of the Sioux, and had given up all hope of hearing 
from Custer. He thought that his Commander must have 
retreated towards Gibbon's column and would hardly 
risk a decisive fight with such great odds against him. So 



388 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

he decided not to advance but to stay where he was and 
defend himselfc The men were therefore ordered to dig 
rifle pits, which were barricaded with dead horses, mules, 
and boxes of hard-bread ; while every exertion was made 
to repel the assault which the soldiers knew would come 
in the morning. During the night the Indians could be 
heard holding a scalp dance, below, in the valley. 

Meanwhile; what had happened to Custer? When 
Reno's men heard several rolls of musketry in the direction 
of the Indian camp, they should have pushed forward. 
The dreadful fate which befell Custer's gallant band might 
thus have been averted, for the majority of the Indians 
were then annihilating Custer's men, and only a thin 
fringe of savages were besieging Reno. By their rapid fire 
the Indians purposely made the impression that they were 
in far greater numbers than they really were. 

Custer had moved around the point of the range, which 
had hidden him from the enemy, when he separated from 
Reno in the early morning. After fording a small tribu 
tary of the river, he swept down the right bank of the 
Litde Big Horn. The valley is, at this point, from half a 
mile to a mile and a half wide; the river is full of dan- 
gerous quicksands, so Custer galloped to a dry water- 
course, which formed a narrow ravine towards the river's 
edge; and made a dash to get across. I have said 
that he expected to find at least two thousand savages. 
Instead of attacking such a number, there were, at least, 
five thousand in the camp, and he was soon in a death 
grapple with three thousand Sioux and Cheyenne war- 
riors. Met by a tremendous fire from the repeating rifles 
of the Indians, the head of the column was doubled back 



TuE liZW YORK 
PIBLTC LIBRARY 



t^ "0-, L;-^'OX AND 
TILDEN FOU .DATIONS. 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 389 

towards some high bluffs in the rear. Several soldiers, in 
advance, fell headlong into the water and were swallowed 
up by the quicksands. 

Seeing that it was impossible to cross the river, Custer 
dismounted his men and led them up to the bluffs by a 
diagonal movement; while they protected themselves by 
firing at the Indians over the backs of their horses. But 
the savages followed with speed, closed in upon the doomed 
command from all sides, and cut off the retreat to the 
high land. Surrounded on all sides by overwhelming num- 
bers of the enemy, the troops fought gamely; but the 
deadly fire mowed them down like chaff before the wind. 
They and their horses fell in rapid succession. A great 
many Indians were also struck, as they dashed in at close 
range, and near enough to be hit by revolver bullets. 
Down fell Boston Custer : the General's brother. Down 
among the reeling cavalrymen went the gallant Tom 
Custer: the General's other kinsman. Mark Kellog^ — 
a newspaper correspondent — nearly succeeded in making 
his escape, but the animal he rode was too slow for the 
Indian ponies, so he was overtaken; shot; and scalped. 
Captain Keogh: a gallant and noble-hearted gentleman, 
fell in a last rally upon a hill-top. Finally, General Custer, 
himself, was struck in the body by a ball. He dropped 
upon his side and fired a few shots into the yelling savages 
with his revolver. Another bullet struck him, and he 
sank in death. Soon the last cavalryman had ceased to 
breathe, — it was all over with Custer and his courageous 
men. 

Of that terrible carnage in the Valley of the Little Big 
Horn, only two living things escaped. One was Curly: 



390 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

General Custer's Indian scout, and the other was Com- 
manche: Captain Keogh's war horse. The former's 
escape was most fortunate, for, when he saw that things 
were hopeless he watched his opportunity; got hold of a 
Sioux blanket; held it to his eyes; and worked himself 
up a ravine. As the Indians charged, he mingled among 
them, and, in the excitement of battle, they did not notice 
that he was not one of their own men. Some of the Sioux 
were mounted; Curly saw one of them fall. He ran to 
him, jumped upon his pony, and galloped away in the di- 
rection of Custer's men. Then he suddenly veered off, 
made up a ravine, and so escaped. He said afterwards 
that, as he looked back, he saw a dozen or more soldiers in 
a ravine, a mile from the battle-field, who were fighting 
Sioux all around them, and were outnumbered five to one. 
So much for Custer. He fought a game fight and had 
been crushed by overwhelming numbers. There were still 
the men under Reno; anxiously waiting for what the 
morning would bring, and determined to sell their lives 
dear. They expected to be attacked, and, in this, they 
were not to be disappointed, for, at day-break, the crack of 
two rifles announced the signal for an onslaught on the 
entrenched command. After the annihilation of Custer the 
Indians were confident that Reno would share the same 
fate and so came on with much vigour. A terrific force was 
poured into the fortified camp, and, as the day brightened, 
countless hordes of warriors poured up the Valley from the 
village. They scampered to the high points shown them 
by their chiefs, and completely surrounded Reno's position. 
The battle raged from day-light until about 9.30 in the 
morning, when the troopers saw that the Indians were to 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 391 

make a last desperate assault. Soon they came on and 
charged close enough to use their bows and arrows, which 
they discharged with great inaccuracy. This assault was 
gallantly repulsed by the men under Captain Ben- 
teen. 

The fury of the Indian attack now seemed to have spent 
itself, and, to the astonishment of all, the savages were 
seen going back to the village. They moved away from 
this in the afternoon, having split into small bands. About 
two o'clock in the afternoon the grass was set on fire in the 
Big Horn Valley, and behind this protecting screen of 
smoke, the Indians made their retreat with their wives, 
children, and belongings. The hostile tribes filed off 
towards the Big Horn Mountains in perfect military 
alignment. 

Reno felt sure that they would return to the attack — as 
they greatly outnumbered his command — and he there- 
fore determined to await reinforcements. The position 
of his men was changed so as to get an unlimited supply of 
water and every preparation was made to renew the fight- 
ing. The soldiers were cheerful, for the fate that had 
befallen General Custer was not dreamed of, as it was be- 
lieved that he had been driven towards the mouth of the 
Little Big Horn where he had united with Terry's infantry 
column. 

Early the next morning, when on the sharp look-out for 
Indians, Reno saw a cloud of dust far down the valley of 
the Little Big Horn. He looked at it carefully with his 
glass and decided that it must be Custer. Volunteers 
were therefore called for, to find out what the column was ; 
and the men were told to push on to General Terry and 



392 FAMOUS CAVALRY LEADERS 

solicit his aid, if they found the advancing cloud to be 
hostile Indians. There was no difficulty in getting men 
enough to advance upon the moving body in the 
valley. 

In a very short time the scouts returned in a great state 
of happiness, announcing that the dust was from Gibbon's 
Infantry column with General Terry in command. About 
half past ten, that morning, the worn-out defenders of the 
cliffs on the Little Big Horn were overjoyed to see the 
fresh troops of the infantry column come marching up 
the valley. Cheer after cheer arose for Terry and his 
dust-stained Regulars. Strong men cried like little chil- 
dren when they knew that their danger was over. 

Soon Captain Benteen and General Terry rode down 
to the spot where the Indian village had been standing, 
and it was not long before they discovered the fate that 
had befallen General Custer and his men. There, across 
the river, and strewn over the bluffs in their last sleep, 
lay the bodies of two hundred and four brave soldiers. 
Each had been stripped of his clothing; the heads had 
been scalped, a,nd the bodies horribly mutilated. General 
Custer, alone, had not been touched, for the Indians, no 
doubt recognized him and respected the dead body of one 
whose fighting qualities they had good reason to respect. 
By the side of the General lay the remains of his brother 
Tom, who had once seized the savage Rain-in-the-Face, 
and, true to his promise to cut out the heart of his capturer, 
the cruel Indian had made good his oath. Here lie to-day, 
the bodies of these members of the Seventh Cavalry, just as 
they fell. Each soldier's grave is marked with a slab of 
stone, save that of General Custer, whose remains have 



GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER 393 

been removed to West Point. There his monument is 
ever an inspiration to the cadets of the MiHtary Academy ; 
urging them to the most unselfish performance of duty 
and patriotic service to their native land. 



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happiness around her. 

NANCY, THE DOCTOR'S LITTLE PART- 
NER 

By Marion Ames Taggart. 

One vol., library 12mo, illustrated . . . $1.50 

In Nancy Porter, Miss Taggart has created one of the 

most lovable child characters in recent years. In the 

new story she is the same bright and cheerful little maid. 

ALYS- ALL -ALONE 

By Una INIacdonald. 

Library 12ino, cloth decorative, illustrated . $1.50 
A delightful, well-written, happy-ending story which 
will gladden the hearts of many a reader. Though dearly 
loved above all else, a little girl, A!ys, must be left some- 
what alone. Indeed she feels and calls herself "Alys-All- 
Alone." The story closes with the little girl happily estab- 
lished in a real home — no longer " Alys-AU-Alone." 
A — 7 



C. PAGE &= COMPANY'S 



GABRIEL AND THE HOUR BOOK 

By ii,VALEEN Stein. 

Small quarto, cloth decorative, illustrated and deco- 
rated in colors by Adelaide Everhart . . . $1.00 
Gabriel was a loving, patient, little French lad, who 
assisted the monks in the long ago days, when all the books 
were written and illuminated by hand, in the monasteries. 

A LITTLE SHEPHERD OF PROVENCE 

By EvALEEN Stein. 

Small quarto, cloth decorative, illustrated in colors by 

Diantha Home Marlowe $1.00 

This is the story of Little lame Jean, a goatherd of 

Provence, and of the " golden goat " who is supposed 

to guard a hidden treasure. 

THE STORY OF RAOUL 

By EvALEEN Stein. 

Cloth, r2mo, illustrated and decorated in colors $1.25 
This is the story of a lad of noble birth, who, though kid- 
napped by an uncle who had long been an enemy to the 
house of llaoul, succeeds by his very kindness and lovable 
nature in winning the affections of the old man. 

THE CHRISTMAS MAKERS' CLUB 

By Edith A. Sawyer. 

cloth decorative, illustrated by Ada C. Williamson $1.50 
One of the best books fof girls that has been publish-'nl 
for a long time. It abounds in merrymaking and the right 
kind of fun, and possesses a gentle humor and pathos 
which will touch the hearts of mothers as well as their 
daughters. 

ELSA'S GIFT HOME 

By Edith A. Sawyer. 

Cloth decorative, illustrated by Florence E. Nos- 

worthy $1.50 

A delightful and sunshiny story which tells more about 
the dainty Elsa Danforth and her girl chums. How genial 
Uncle Ned's Christmas gift brought joy not only to Elsa 
and the " Christmas Club," but to many others, is the 
happy theme for a whole-spirited book for girls. 
A — 8 



BOOK'S FOR YOUNG PEOPLE 



THE YOUNG SECTION-HAND; Or, The Ad- 
ventures OF Allan West. By Burton E. Stevenson. 
Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . . $1.50 
Mr. Stevenson's hero is a manly lad of sixteen, who ia 
given a chance as a section-hand on a big Western rail- 
road, and whose experiences are as real as they are thrilling. 

THE YOUNG TRAIN DISPATCHER. By Bur- 
ton E. Stevenson. 

Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . . $1.50 
" A better book for boys has never left an American 

press." — Springfield Union. 

THE YOUNG TRAIN MASTER. By Burton E. 

Stevenson. 

Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . $1.50 

" Nothing better in the way of a book of adventure for 
boys in which the actualities of Ufe are set forth in a practi- 
cal way could be devised or written." — Boston Herald. 

CAPTAIN JACK LORIMER. By Winn Standish. 
Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . $1.^0 
Jack is a fine example of the all-around American high- 
school boy. 

JACK LORIMER'S CHAMPIONS; Or, Sportv 

ON Land and Lake. By Winn Standish. 

Square 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . . $1.58 

" It is exactly the sort of book to give a boy interested 

in athletics, for it shows him what it means to always 

' play fair.' " — Chicago Tribune. 

JACK LORIMER'S HOLIDAYS; Or, Millvale 
High in Camp. By Winn Standish, 

Illustrated $1.50 

Full of just the kind of fun, sports and adventure to 

excite the healthy minded youngster to emulation. 

JACK LORIMER'S SUBSTITUTE; Or, The Act- 
ing Captain of the Team. By Winn Standish. 

Illustrated $1-50 

On the sporting side, this book takes up football, wres- 
tling, tobogganing, but it is more of a school story perhaps 
than any of its predecessors. 
4—9 



Z. C. PAGE &' COMPANY'S 



THE RED FEATHERS. By G. E. T. Roberts. 
Cloth decorative, illustrated . . . . $1.50 

" The Red Feathers " tells of the remarkable adventures 

of an Indian boy who lived in the Stone Age, many years 

ago, when the world was young. 

FLYING PLOVER. By G. E. Theodore Roberts. 
Cloth decorative. Illustrated by Charles Livingston 

Bull $1.00 

Squat-By-The-Fire is a very old and wise Indian who 

lives alone with her grandson, " Flying Plover," to whom 

she tells the stories each evening. 

COMRADES OF THE TRAILS. By G. E. 

Theodore Roberts. 

Cloth decorative. Illustrated by Charles Livingston 

Bull $1.50 

The story of a fearless young English lad, Dick Ramsey, 
who, after the death of his father, crosses the seas and 
takes up tiie life of a hunter in the Canadian forests. 

MA.RCHING WITH MORGAN. How Donald 

LovELL Became a Soldier of the Revolution. 
By John V. Lane. 

Cloth decorative, illustrated .... $1.50 
This is a splendid boy's .story of the expedition of 
Montgomery and Arnold against Quebec. 

RODx^EY, THE RANGER Or, With Daniel 
Morgan on Trail and Battlefield. By John V. 
Lane. 

Cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50 

Young Rodney Allison, although but fifteen years of 
age, played a man's part in the troublous times pre- 
ceding the American Revolution and in the War itself. 

CHINESE PLAYMATES 

By Norman H. Pitman. 

Small cloth 12mo, illustrated .... $1.00 
A worth-while, happy Httle stor>' about two little 
Chinese boys, Lo-Lo and Ta-Ta, and the strange fortunes 
that befell them when they wandered from home. 
A— 10 



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